The KL International Motor Show (KLIMS13) is on again this week and once again, visitors can get a glimpse of the latest models as well as what could be coming in future, along with a glimpse at some of the icons of the past. Due to the size of the Malaysian market, having an event annually has never been possible and since the first one in 1977, it has occurred every few years.
The first two motorshows were held at a small exhibition area in Changkat Pavilion, adjacent to Stadium Negara, in Kuala Lumpur and while they were not organised by the Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA but then known as the Malaysian Motor Traders Association), the association provided support for the events since most of the car companies were its members anyway.
KLIMS moved to the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) in 1990 where it has remained up till today. With the change in venue as well as the rapidly growing market, the MAA became involved directly as organizer and took the event to the next level. Unlike the bigger motorshows in Thailand and Indonesia, KLIMS has always been more of a ‘branding’ event rather than to generate sales. The motorshows in the neighbouring countries are often where peak sales in the year occur as there are special offers and the focus is on selling. For this reason, KLIMS has often seen the display of concept cars, like the major motorshows in Europe and America.
Though the MAA would like to find a new venue with more space and a less restrictive layout (too many columns), there has yet to be another convention centre in the Klang Valley which has sufficient floor space. The KL Convention Centre near KLCC is not big enough and the Putrajaya Convention Centre would be too far out of KL. In 1998, a motorshow was organized in Langkawi and it was hoped that the event could be run regularly. However, it was obvious that the location was much too far from the Klang Valley where the majority of car-buyers live and attendance would not justify the high cost of setting up a display booth. A motorshow is not the same as an airshow which is more an industry thing and customers are people who are buying on behalf of governments and corporations and not themselves!
It’s a pity that a number of brands are missing from this year’s event but those that are present have put on a fine display of their models, with some using the opportunity to launch brand new models at the motorshow. For example, Honda Malaysia surprised everyone by unveiling the latest generation of the Odyssey MPV which has recently gone on sale in Japan. Nasim also launched the new Peugeot 2008 while Hyundai Sime Darby Motors launched the i30 and i40.
Edaran Tan Chong Motor also used the motorshow to launch the Nissan LEAF all-electric car for sale, along with a NISMO version of the Almera. The NISMO Almera has been specially conceived by Nissan’s high-performance division and its unveiling in Malaysia is actually a global debut since it has not been shown anywhere else yet.
Infiniti, Nissan’s luxury division, is making its first appearance at KLIMS and introduced the new Q50 sedan which is only just appearing in world markets. Also on display is a racing car like the one Sebastian Vettel is driving this year which has helped him win the F1 World Championship title for a fourth consecutive year and if you’re interested, you can also get a close-up look at his helmet, gloves and shoes which are on display!
Ford Malaysia is not launching any new models but it is providing visitors with a preview of a few models which will be coming in 2014 like the EcoSport compact SUV, Fiesta EcoBoost and Fiesta ST. The Ford booth, which is among the larger ones at the motorshow, also has the Shelby Mustang, an icon in the American auto industry, as well as the Fusion Hybrid. Unfortunately, both are not intended for sale in Malaysia anytime soon.
The Volkswagen booth has the largest floor area and is showing off its entire range. This is the first time that the carmaker itself is participating in KLIMS although Auto Dunia (its former distributor) did display models in past events during the 1990s. The booth is impressive with its clean white environment that is typical of Volkswagen stands at the big motorshows in China and Europe.
KLIMS13 will be on until Sunday November 24 and on Saturdays and Sundays, opening times are between 10 am and 10 pm, while on weekdays, the doors open at 11 am. If you are driving there, it’s best to park at the carpark at the bus station across the road from PWTC.
Over the coming week, we’ll be providing a closer look at some of the booths and other aspects of the motorshow for those who can’t visit it so check back for new reports. For now, here’s an overview of the displays at the motorshow.