By now KLIMS, in its eight edition no less; has closed its doors. The sets have been removed, the area has been cleaned and is now awaiting it’s next big-scale event. Malaysians may need to wait another 3 long years to see another International Motor show on our shores. While I was personally amazed with some of the stands at KLIMS this year, like any “critical” Malaysian, this year’s event is not without criticism, and by looking at the comments section from the KLIMS social media page, it’s not very pretty.
To me, the whole flow of KLIMS is best described as this. Fascinating introduction (Toyota, Honda, VW, Subaru, Infiniti, Nissan booths are great stand outs), followed by a “meh” middle (Perodua, Citroen, Peugeot, and some “eye rising” exhibitors, more on that later), history lesson (alright didn’t gel well with the theme but what the hell) and finally end with a satisfying conclusion (Hyundai and Ford’s brilliant showcase). I believe before visitors left PWTC, they might be cursing themselves for paying good money to see some of the brands were missing, and ended up filling the lucky draw forms to console themselves, hoping they could drive home one of the two new hybrid cars.
While I was glad they learnt from their mistakes from 2010 (the cardboard replica from a very famous Hollywood movie left a bitter aftertaste), I think there are a few problems I can see from this year’s event.
KLIMS: Prototypes’s final hurrah
Apart of new car launches (KLIMS 2013 did reasonably well on this), one of the biggest attractions for Int Motor Shows is the display of prototypes, a concept vehicle which may shape how and what we drive in the future. There were five notable prototypes for this show. However, if you searched closely, apart from Perodua, the remaining prototypes were mostly displayed from Int Motor shows of 2 years ago. The Honda EV-STER was debuted in the Tokyo show in 2011, the Toyota Fun-Vii and NS4 were also debuted in motor shows in 2011 and 2012, Citroen’s Numero 9 debuted in Beijing 2012, and even Hyundai i-Oniq was shown in Geneva 2012. It seems that the marques are picking KLIMS as a swan song for these not so modern prototypes (shown below) before they will be locked away for good.
Nearby, the Japanese marques debuted some of the new prototypes in motor shows in Indonesia and Thailand. This year alone in Indonesia’s Motor show, Daihatsu showcased an incredible eight concept cars in Jakarta where else in KLIMs what we can see are mere Daihatsu mini trucks that’s used by hawkers. That is somehow a sad reflection on the importance of Malaysia to these marques, yet again something not new as after all, Thailand and Indonesia are way ahead of Malaysia in the automotive industry in this region.
MAA has rebuked critics and stated that the show was well received and all exhibitors’ space had already been taken up, which hints that demand from exhibitors is strong from this country. But somehow seeing this is an international motor show, it baffles me on seeing MAA reserved the space for non-automotive exhibitors such as a massage chair brand. But the one that remained a travesty is the inclusion of the Auto Saloon competition. I’m sorry but the last thing I want to see in an International Motor Show where I pay good money to enter, is to see some over modified distasteful street cars (shown below).
At first glance I thought the Classic American car display was an example of exhibitor space gone to waste as that hall could easily accommodate a few more marques. As I stated a few times in AF before, classic American muscle cars was a major contradiction to KLIMS’s theme of “Efficiency in Motion”. However after leaving that hall, somehow I have to admit, I had a great time shooting images and admiring some of the best American muscle I’ve ever seen. I think classic American cars should instead come as another independent show; I’d pay to go watch it for sure.
But on hindsight, if MAA had carefully selected its exhibitors; they might have more different marques able to participate to display their new cars or prototypes. However, the mismanagement of how it handled its space has lead to this problem…
The Missing marques
There was various speculation on why some marques were missing in this show. Proton, the country’s main auto manufacturer whose presence makes KLIMS a worthy visit, was a no-show this year due to some scuffles on the display booths allocation. With that, two brands, Proton and Lotus, were eliminated from the exhibitor’s list.
Naza, the automotive conglomerate that has a number of marques under its belt, downsized this year with just the Peugeot and its latest darling, Citroen, on display, while Chevrolet, who had a big display with the Camaro in 2010, was absent. Even more surprisingly, KIA went MIA in KLIMS 2013. And to top that off, Naza decided to keep their list of super cars in their showroom near Federal Highway instead.
Mazda had a great auto show; they launched the new Biante MPV and CX-9, while previewing the new Mazda 3 saloon, some 14 kms away from PWTC. BMW, who definitely had a good marketing budget as seen at its model’s launches, chose not to participate in KLIMS. Looking at a bigger picture, perhaps all this can be solved if we find the solution for the next problem, which is….
KLIMS needs a bigger place
The venue. It’s odd to have visitors walking across a river between halls to catch some of the displays at KLIMS but yet again, it is all dependent on the design of the venue. PWTC has been hosting KLIMS for many editions and this year’s edition was marred by a blackout on a Sunday which caused an outburst among visitors, who were stuck in the venue for hours without light and air conditioning, and who’d to endured the long queues to get tickets. Some of the areas had awful lighting which made decent photography quite challenging. The car parks were limited and expensive, made worse with the closure of the Mall nearby.
Perhaps it’s time for MAA to consider a new and bigger venue to host KLIMS. The aged PWTC with the limited space may prompt MAA to consider looking for another alternative. However, here the Catch 22 situation here. There are various newer and better venues in the Klang Valley, from the KL Convention Centre (KLCC), Putrajaya Int Convention Centre (PICC) , and the Matrade Centre in Jalan Duta. The problem now is none of these newer convention centers are bigger than PWTC, and seeing as how PWTC is already struggling with space, does this imply KLIMS will never have a bigger and better new venue?
One way to solve this is to give exhibitors more chance to participate by having more shows, which leads to the next problem….
Why three years?
Renowned and prestigious International motor shows like Detroit, New York, Geneva and even Thailand have their shows annually. Shows in Tokyo, Shanghai, Frankfurt, Paris, London and Beijing have their shows once in two years. These more frequent shows allow marques to showcase their new cars and prototypes equally and consistently, which explains why manufacturers place high priority to these motor shows.
Which makes me think of why KLIMS, which is yet to become a prestigious show, only has one every 3 years? Why not make it a show every two years? Based on the press release by MAA, by day 7, the total accumulative visitors to KLIMS 2013 was an impressive 134,117 visitors with day 7, a normal working weekday, had a record of 23,868 visitors. By rough calculations, KLIMS can hit 20,000++ visitors a day during its 10 day period, that easily translates to almost a quarter of the million visitors. This clearly shows that the demand from the public is there.
Based on that judgement, why can’t the MAA have the next KLIMS in 2015? Furthermore MAA did not confirm if we can see another KLIMS in three years time, which indicates it is playing the “safe game” and to Malaysians, those views on KLIMS were modestly described, as mixed. Furthermore with the shows from Indonesia and Thailand getting more impressive year by year, will this make KLIMS irrelevant in years to come?
KLIMS, seriously, I expect you to do better. Get a new venue, make it a show every two years and it will work. Hopefully with such improvements we will see more pictures of gorgeous new machines and prototypes rather than just the pretty and sexy models as seen in photographs flooding the social media.