Dr. Iain Corness

The official figures have been released regarding the Bangkok International Motor Show.

Number of Visitors: 1.7 million which is close to last year’s record. Most visitors were in average working ages and interested in mid-size passenger cars, family cars and pick up trucks with prices starting from 700,000 baht and above.

Total cars sold: 37,027 units

Top five auto makers with highest sales amount were;

1. Toyota: 6,144 units

2. Honda: 5,069 units

3. Mazda: 4,584 units

4. Isuzu: 4,485 units

5. Nissan: 4,042 units

These figures are interesting, as historically Toyota has always been streets ahead of the others, but this year Honda, Mazda, Isuzu and Nissan are much closer in total sales. A very good result for Isuzu which does not have passenger cars to boost its number, compared to Honda, Mazda and Nissan.

Bangkok International Motor Show.Bangkok International Motor Show.

Thursday, 23 April 2015 13:17

“New” technology is really “old”

French automotive supplier Valeo is providing details on their upcoming electric supercharger technology.

Set to make its debut in the Audi SQ7, Valeo’s system consists of an electric supercharger which according to the company can reduce fuel consumption by 7 percent to 20 percent and it also eliminates most of the lag as the power will be available at a lower rpm.

Thursday, 23 April 2015 13:15

What did we learn from the Bahraini GP?

Well, we learned that Rosberg can get rattled, Vettel does not reign supreme in the red car pit and Kimi Raikkonen can still produce the goods (when he wants to).

For those who were hoping to see Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) challenged, then they were disappointed. Topping the sheets in all three Qualifying sessions and being totally in charge for the race (and don’t for one moment think that Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari could have produced an upset at the end), Rapper Hamilton is currently the best.

So where was Nico Rosberg in the other Mercedes, who still is trying to convince senior management that he is the golden haired boy? Nico is looking less and less like a challenger and more and more like someone out of his depth. Not even runner-up material, he can be forced into errors and then gets increasingly more desperate. His third place was as good as he was going to get. (And here’s a prediction - Mercedes does not renew Rosberg’s contract at the end of the year, but gives the seat to Nico Hulkenberg. It makes sense - Hulkenberg is quick, he is German and they don’t even need to change the name on the dressing room door!)

So to the Ferrari resurgence. Sebastian Vettel (formerly known as “The Finger”) looked good sitting on the grid in second place, but from then on his race deteriorated, ending up 5th and unable to pass the Williams of Valtteri Bottas. “I was probably pushing very hard and did some mistakes. I think all in all, not a perfect race.” A masterpiece of understatement.

Kimi Raikkonen’s second Ferrari was the one who brought the fight to Mercedes and pushed his way into second at the flag. With rumors around that Kimi will be dropped at the end of the year, who would you put in as a replacement? I expect the grumpy Finn to be still wearing red in 2016.

The Williams team had a mixed day. Bottas was the quicker in Qualifying and drove a mature race to finish fourth and in front of The Finger who had no answer to the Finn’s pace and clever blocking techniques, always leaving the Ferrari on the wrong side with the marbles. The second Williams of Felipe Massa baulked at the start and he had to begin from Pit lane and was coming up through the slower cars until the inevitable happened - a clout from Maldonado (“Lotus”). Massa was lucky to finish 10th. By the way, there is no truth in the rumor that Maldonado’s race suit is padded with $100 bills.

Sixth place went to everyone’s favorite driver Aussie Daniel Ricciardo who had a totally uneventful race until the final corner when his Renault engine blew in synchronization with the fireworks marking the end of the race. Will Red Bull team owner Dietrich Mateschitz pull the plug on F1 as he has threatened to? Actually I think he could. Red Bull is no longer the world-wide sponsor of different sports, and Monster Energy is becoming just as well known as Red Bull. Now would be the time to pull out, rather than let Monster overtake. The Renault problem may be a smokescreen to hide the real intention?

The final unlapped runner was Romain Grosjean “Lotus” in seventh, and the rest were nowhere, though I must mention McLaren Honda, with Button’s car withdrawn before the start and Alonso 11th. How the mighty have fallen. Is someone at Honda committing Hara-Kiri? Will Ron Dennis explode? Will McLaren buy a couple of old Mercedes engines and become competitive again?

The next GP is Spain on May 10.

Thursday, 23 April 2015 13:15

Porsche 918 clocks 350 km/h in Australia

New Zealander Craig Baird, an ex-Porsche Cup winner, drove the 918 hybrid hypercar to a speed-limited top indicated speed of 350km/h on the Stuart Highway in the Northern Territory.

Last week, in an attempt to slow the Googlers, I asked you to please identify this car. It was an Isotto Fraschini!

So to this week. What is this car? Clue: early 1930’s.

For the Automania free beer this week, be the first correct answer to email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Last week’s Quiz Car.Last week’s Quiz Car.

This week’s Quiz Car.This week’s Quiz Car.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015 15:16

Bargains in medication?

How many pharmacies in your street? I can count five over 500 meters. This must mean we are all very sick and needing constant medication - or, like beauty salons and massage parlors, the collective imagination is lacking somewhat.

But back to the pharmacies, with so many of them, the only way they can compete with each other is on price. A box of Enalapril looks the same as any other box of Enalapril. So where do they get cheaper drugs in the first place?

The big money spinners are the drugs which can keep you in a state of perpetual priapism, a continuing (and painful) male erection and the term was coined after the Greek god Priapus who is shown in paintings to have a central member like a third leg.

Cheap pills for Erectile Dysfunction (ED) that seem too good to be true, are usually just that - too good to be true! The chances are very high that they are counterfeit.

One of the patients showed me a box purporting to be genuine brand name Cialis tablets, which were not having the desired effect. I was immediately suspicious as the box was not all that well printed. I was quite sure they were counterfeit when I read the Patient Information slip. The English grammar was incorrect, and there were spelling mistakes. Eli Lilly, the ‘real’ manufacturer does not send out mis-spelled literature with their product.

Eli Lilly’s website on Cialis confirms that there is fake Cialis in the marketplace. The website suggests you ask yourself these questions; any “yes” answers could mean that the Cialis being sold may be fake:

Is the price so much lower than the price at the hospital pharmacy that it seems too good to be true?

Does the pharmacy offer “soft tab” or “fast dissolve” Cialis? (Cialis only comes in tablets. There is no such thing as “soft tab” or “fast dissolve” Cialis.)

Does your local pharmacy offer “generic Cialis” or a drug with a name that is similar to Cialis? (Such products have not have been evaluated by the FDA for safety and effectiveness - they could be harmful.)

The World Health Organization puts the annual amount of counterfeit drugs sales at something like $35-40 billion per year. No wonder I (and you) get so many offers of drugs through the internet. That’s a very large pie.

The World Health Organization also estimates that one in three drugs on the worldwide market today is counterfeit. Sometimes the fake drugs contain toxic substances from which you can die.

Pfizer’s laboratories analyze the fakes and a representative stated, “We’ve seen boric acid, we’ve seen heavy metals, we’ve seen road paint, we’ve also seen floor wax to coat the pills and give them a shine. Obviously, they are detrimental to anyone’s health.”

It is not just Eli Lilly that is targeted. Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer (yes chaps, the makers of the blue diamonds of happiness) estimates its annual losses to counterfeit drug sales at $2 billion.

However, this is actually a serious situation. If specific drugs are only available through pharmacies, on the prescription of a doctor, is it safe to just buy over the counter (or the internet), without any doctor’s advice?

The American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says, “Patients who buy prescription drugs from websites operating outside the law are at increased risk of suffering life-threatening adverse events, such as side effects from inappropriately prescribed medications, dangerous drug interactions, contaminated drugs, and impure or unknown ingredients found in unapproved drugs.”

According to WHO, drugs commonly counterfeited include antibiotics, antimalarials, hormones and steroids. Increasingly, anticancer and antiviral drugs are also fake. And you can add to that, the ‘blue diamonds’. Never forget the phrase “Caveat emptor” (Let the buyer beware).

If you receive a spam e-mail from someone who you don’t know, offering you specific pharmaceuticals at a cheap price, that should be enough for you to go no further. If your local pharmacies will offer you ‘name brand’ medication that is supposedly prescription only at a very cheap price, that should ring alarm bells in your head too.

Get your medications on a doctor’s prescription from a pharmacy you can trust. Or suffer the consequences.

Thursday, 16 April 2015 12:57

AFG Annual Golf Tournament

The Automotive Focus Group (AFG) is Thailand’s premier automotive business leader’s networking group but each year they also promote a great day of golf, meeting people, fun and prizes.

Following the success of previous tournaments, the AFG is happy to confirm that the 2015 Annual Golf Tournament will be held on Friday May 8th 2015 at the Burapha Golf Club in Chonburi.

Registration is from 11.30 a.m., light lunch, tee off for all at 12:30 p.m. (shotgun start).  The drinks, dinner and prize giving will start from 6:00 p.m.

Registrations close by 20th April and the green fees, lunch, dinner and drinks are included in the price, with many prizes to be won.

Entry fees are THB 4,500 per person (includes registration, light lunch, green fees, caddy, buggy hire, drinks, dinner, great company and the chance to win some wonderful prizes).  Contact the AFG President to register before April 20.

The gold sponsor is Supply Chain Services International (SCSI) and minor sponsors include Tractus.  Sponsorship options are still available for a minor sponsor (THB 10,000 includes 1 free player).

There are many prizes to be won for those playing, including a two night stay for two (including breakfast) at the JW Marriot Khao Lak hotel.

Contact Frank Holzer, President Mobile 089 092 7104, Email frank.holzer@ automotivefocusgroup.com or Manita Boontham, (Marketing and Events) Mobile 081 862 4808, Email manita. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

One very new release was the Toyota Mirai (Japanese for “future”). This is a fuel cell vehicle (FCV) and is already on sale in California and destined for Europe later in the year.

Thursday, 16 April 2015 11:39

Bahrain GP this weekend

Yes, Bahrain comes straight after last week’s Chinese GP in Shanghai, and also arrives in Pattaya’s Songkran festivities. Sunday 19 is one of the very few days that Jameson’s will be shut (and I can’t blame Landlord Kim) so we will all have to fend for ourselves. The GP starts 10 p.m. Thai time, so find the closest (dry) pub, and best of luck. You can also watch on your personal computers with live streaming.

Last week I said that the C-Class Mercedes-Benz was one of the outstanding vehicles at the Bangkok International Motor Show. Hot on the heels of last week’s Pattaya Mail came the news that the C-Class has been awarded the World Car Of The Year (WCOTY) for 2015.

75 motoring journalists from 22 countries voted and it finished on top of a 24 car field and eventually beat the two other finalists, the Ford Mustang and Volkswagen Passat.


The other big prizes for 2015, Green Car of the Year and Performance Car of the Year, went to the plug-in hybrid BMW i8 and the Mercedes-AMG GT coupe (the car I chose as the car of the show last week in Bangkok).

The winners were announced at the New York Motor Show at an event hosted by Bridgestone Corporation and Autoneum at the culmination of a six-month voting process.

The C-Class delivers levels of refinement, luxury, safety, ride and handling that challenge best-in-class.

The awards are in their 11th year and previous winners include the Audi A6, BMW 3 Series, Lexus LS460 and Volkswagen Golf, Polo and Up.

To be eligible for the overall World Car award, candidate cars must have become available for sale on at least two continents between January 1, 2014 and May 31, 2015.

The WCOTY wins by Mercedes-Benz follow its victories in the Green Car contest in 2007 with the E320 Bluetec and 2012 with the S 250 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY and its Luxury Car success with the S Class in 2014.

“We are extremely delighted of winning the honor of World Car of the Year,” said the chairman of Daimler, Dr Dieter Zetsche.

The WCOTY judging panel says: “Taking its design and technological cues from the S-Class, the C-Class employs an all-new aluminium/steel hybrid platform and updated rear-drive powertrains that delivers levels of refinement, luxury, safety, ride and handling that challenge best-in-class.”

The World Car awards for 2015:

Overall winner: Mercedes-Benz C-Class

Green Car: BMW i8

Performance Car: Mercedes-AMG GT

Luxury Car: Mercedes-Benz S Coupe

Design: Citroen Cactus

Previous WCOTY winners:

2014: Audi A3

2013: Volkswagen Golf

2012: Volkswagen Up

2011: Nissan Leaf

2010: Volkswagen Polo

2009: Volkswagen Golf

2008: Mazda2

2007: Lexus LS460

2006: BMW 3 Series

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