October 8, 2011
Nissan launches the new Almera, first sedan eco-car in Thailand
October 7, 2011
Sawasdee-ka from Bangkok!
The Global Media Center team is on location in Thailand for the launch of Nissan’s new Almera “sedan eco-car”, the first of its type in the market.
Credited for pioneering the development of the eco-car segment in Thailand with the introduction of the March in 2010, more than 47,000 units of the subcompact have been sold.
Today, the automaker introduced the new Almera – aimed at middle-income families, and is expecting sales for the new product to hit 20,000 units by March 2012.
“Last year, we launched the first eco-car in Thailand, the Nissan March. Since we launched the Nissan March, we’ve have [gained] significant market share,” said Nissan COO Toshiyuki Shiga.
“I am expecting this first sedan eco-car, a strong product and with very good fuel efficiency, to be a hit in this market.”
But what is an eco-car? Defined as affordable passenger cars with fuel consumption of at least 20 km per liter, they must also comply with “Euro 4” emission standards. The Thai government started the green push in 2007, and aims to become a regional hub for the production of fuel-sipping models.
In return for buying cars that use fuel more efficiently and pollute less, eco-cars enjoy a preferential excise tax rate of 17 percent compared with 25 percent to 50 percent for standard passenger cars. The government has said the vehicles will also encourage foreign investment, consolidating Thailand’s position as an auto powerhouse.
The Thai government has said it wants to increase the ratio of eco-cars sold in the country, which built 1.6 million vehicles last year including exports.
The recent government-implemented first-car buyer scheme will also boost sales, say Nissan dealers who came to Bangkok from all over Thailand for the introduction of the Almera at Siam Paragon, one of the city’s biggest shopping malls.
The first-time buyer program offers rebates of up to 100,000 baht ($3,230), but critics have said the new incentive plan may affect eco-car sales as it makes standard passenger models more competitive.
Many, though, say customers say still prefer more environmentally friendly models like the Almera.
Managing Director of Siam Motor Sales dealership, Wichai Amatakulachai, says the Almera is an ideal product to be introduced at this time.
“The hatchback March eco-car, first in Thailand, was a very big success. But for the 1.2-liter sedan in Thailand, the demand is double, more than double,” he said.
For others like Nareerat Chantaramungkorn, who runs three dealerships in Northern Thailand, cars allotted to her company have already been snapped up.
“I’m very happy, the booking is 100%, even on the first day,” she said.
The new Almera will be launched in Nissan showrooms across Thailand starting from October 8.
To watch the video highlights of today’s launch, click here.