The Kuala Lumpur International Motor Show (KLIMS) has been around since the late 1970s when the first one was held at a small site next to the Chinwoo Stadium. With the industry rapidly growing, the venue was moved to the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) in the mid-1990s where it would remain till 2013. The event was held every few years although this time, there’s been a somewhat long gap of 5 years.
Nevertheless, the return of KLIMS also sees it at a brand new venue, the Malaysian International Trade & Exhibition Centre (MITEC) off Jalan Tuanku Abdul Halim (formerly known as Jalan Duta). PWTC, though located closer to the city centre, was never an ideal place for a motorshow. Its many columns prevented exhibitors from designing spacious layouts to showcase their models. Over time, demand for more space also grew but the building, opened in 1995, had limited space for expansion. In fact, a new hall had to be created across the river for more exhibitors.
The availability of MITEC is therefore timely, perhaps even long overdue. It’s a brand new venue with a design inspired by the rubber seed and has features and facilities which are certainly more modern than PWTC.
All along, KLIMS has been a ‘branding event’ and that differentiates it from the ones in Thailand and Indonesia where the focus is more on sales. In fact, at those two events, sales reach high levels for the months as consumers take advantage of special deals offered. With KLIMS, though the companies hope to sell some cars and get some returns on the massive amounts they spend, the main aim is to present their technologies – new and future – and launch new models or preview some that will come in the near future.
Perodua, for example, didn’t have any of its current models on display and focussed on showing visitors what’s likely to come in the next few years. For those hoping to see their new SUV, it’s not on display openly and can only be seen within a futuristic ‘cage’ and even then, it’s under a cover. Proton has been releasing information in stages for the past few months and by now, just about everything except the price is known and so it’s time to show off the new X70 SUV in public. The prices will be known on December 12, which is the confirmed launch date of the model.
In as far as new models are concerned, the timing of KLIMS will determine whether they are previewed or launched. This year, Mitsubishi Motors Malaysia used the event to launch the all-new Triton pick-up while UMW Toyota Motor launched the new Toyota Camry ES and previewed the upgraded Toyota Vios as well as the Lexus ES and UX, the latter two models to go on sale in 2019. Hyundai Sime Darby Motors also launched the fourth generation of the Hyundai Santa Fe while Sime Darby Auto Connexion officially introduced the bold and aggressive Ford Ranger Raptor and a new version of the iconic Mustang.
KLIMS will be on until December 2 and every ticket purchase gives the visitor a chance to win a new Perodua Myvi, Toyota C-HR or Honda City. There are also special deals from some companies available only during the motorshow period.
Hopefully, the era of change in the country will also include the auto industry and KLIMS. Times have changed but a motorshow is still an event that can be exciting and attractive. Even the Transport Minister, who declared the show open, was enthusiastic about it and suggested to the Malaysian Automotive Association that they should aim to have one every two years instead of three years (which was the frequency in earlier years).
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