GPI forecasts motor show sales upshift

Visitors check out new models at the Bangkok International Motor Show. PATTANAPONG HIRUNARD

SET-listed auto show organiser Grand Prix International Plc (GPI) is confident that car bookings from its showcase next month will increase for the first time in five years, thanks to positive market sentiment.

GPI plans to hold the 39th Bangkok International Motor Show from March 28 to April 8 in an exhibition space spanning 170,000 square metres.

The 12-day auto show is projected to secure a 3% increase in bookings to 32,000 units, attracting 1.6 million visitors to Impact Muang Thong Thani.

Chief operating officer Jaturont Komolmis said GPI believes that the auto show can stimulate the domestic car market in the first half, helping Thailand reach the full-year sales target of 900,000 vehicles -- up 3%.

He said the positive momentum will cross over to another show, the 10th Bangkok Used Car Show, being held at the same time and venue.

Last year, GPI registered 7,000-8,000 bookings during the seven-day show.

'The markets for both new and used cars show a lot of potential. Customers can make purchasing decisions more easily than in the past, while distributors are set to launch new and refreshed models to stimulate the market,' Mr Jaturont said. 'Although car bookings are a performance indicator for each distributor, they also add value to GPI's auto show, serving as an engine for the market.'

Chief executive Prachin Eamlumnow said GPI has increased the booth rental rate by 7%, which should buttress GPI's financial performance in the first half. GPI is spending 210 million baht on the two auto shows.

Mr Prachin plans to hold another auto show in Myanmar in July, which was postponed from January because of a change in venue.

'GPI is now an authorised organiser for an auto show in Yangon, which we aim to hold twice annually -- in July and December,' Mr Prachin said. 'The 10,000-square-metre [venue] will be smaller than the one in Thailand. GPI is still finalising the budget for the show in Myanmar.'

GPI expects total revenue in 2018 to grow by 10-20%. The company also plans to arrange auto shows throughout 2018-19 in Malaysia, Cambodia and Indonesia.

The company reported that revenue from January to September last year grew by 2% to 678 million baht. The company listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand in December.

GPI earns 83% of its revenue from the exhibition business. The firm is also a publisher in the automotive sector.

GPI shares closed yesterday on the SET at 3.18 baht, up two satang, in trade worth 11.6 million baht.