KL International Motor Show returns with a bang after five-year hiatus

|     Khairil Hassan in Kuala Lumpur     |

THE Kuala Lumpur International 2018 Motor Show (KLIMS’18), Malaysia’s largest motor show, was held recently amidst much anticipation, hype and fanfare, and I was lucky enough be invited to the event by the Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA).

KLIMS’18 was organised by the Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) and held from November 23 to December 2 at the Malaysian International Trade and Exhibition Centre (MITEC).

The event was launched by Malaysia’s Minister of Transport YB Loke Siew Fook in an opening ceremony held concurrently with the closing ceremony of the 5th Kuala Lumpur International Automotive Conference 2018, which was jointly organised by the MAA and the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute (ASLI).

KLIMS’18, the event’s ninth edition, was appropriately themed ‘Beyond Mobility’ as we near the dawn of a new decade, putting to the fore the advances of motoring technologies that have overhauled the vehicles we drive today, assimilating into them bits of artificial intelligence, connectivity and renewable energy.

Visitors to the event were treated to a splendiferous selection of car, bike and commercial vehicle premieres and previews, concept car reveals, automotive product launches, as well as limited-edition and vintage cars.

ABOVE & BELOW: Motorbikes on display at the motor show

One of the Lexus cars on display
A ‘Mobile Boutique’ vehicle
The Toyota FT-1 Concept. – PHOTOS: KHAIRIL HASSAN
The Mitsubishi Triton display
The Mustang and Ford exhibition

President of MAA and Chairperson of KLIMS’18 Organising Committee Datuk Aishah Ahmad said of the event, “KLIMS’18 was without doubt the showcase of automotive marques which are making aggressive moves to engage consumers in the market for trend-setting vehicles. Visitors were able to see reveals of various vehicles including futuristic and concept cars, and were inspired by the ingenuity of Malaysia’s automotive engineering students with the displays of their research and development vehicle prototypes.”

The car show consisted of six exhibition halls spread over two levels and covering over 16,000 square metres of exhibition floor space.

Some 74 major car marques and automotive products companies showcased hundreds of novel and state-of-the-art vehicles and auto wares. There were exhibits from Benelli, Daihatsu, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Isuzu, Kawasaki, Kia, Lexus, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Peugeot, Perodua, Proton, Tata, Toyota, UD Trucks, CAM, DS, Citroen, Petronas Motorsports, 3M, and V-Kool, among others.

If the enthralling display of brand-new and concept cars was not enough reason to visit the show, then the exciting line-up of automotive related activities and promotions ought to have done the trick.

One of these was the ‘Sup-Up’ Cars Zone by Wrap Xpert where several supercars were showcased, including the Bentley GT, Lamborghini Gallardo, McLaren 650S, and Cadillac Escalade m180, as well as the longest souped-up limousine in Malaysia, to name but a few.

For motorheads with a heart for the past, the Down Memory Lane Zone is sure to send them on a nostalgic trip back in time. The setup features a number of impressively maintained vintage vehicles, including models that have traversed continents, including the 1934 Austin 7, the 1978 Volkswagen Kombi (which has travelled 45,000km from Malaysia to Germany and back via the Trans Siberia Highway), and the 1971 Ford Capri (which made a record drive from Malaysia to Sri Lanka in 2015/16), and many others.

Over at the Innovation Centre Zone, vehicle prototypes from six universities in Malaysia were put on display: Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM), Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin (UNISZA), Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP), Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia (UPNM), and Universiti Malaysia Pahang (UMP).

Among the exhibits was Malaysia’s first locally developed Mobile Autonomous Vehicle (UiTMAV 2) from UiTM.

No car show though would be complete without a dedicated section for bike enthusiasts. And indeed, KLIMS’18’s organisers did not forget this segment of the automotive-loving population.

Enter ‘Art of Speed’, an exhibition of several customised motorbikes. Examples of custom bikes on show here included a BMW R75/6 White Angel by the Rusty Factory and a Suzuki GS100E by Kenstomoto Valkyrie, among others.

Then there’s the ‘Family Fun Times Zone’ section for families visiting the show, where children could be introduced to driving skills at the Kids Driving School, or be entertained with the Inflatable Castles, Rock Painting activities, the Baby Corner, and busking performances.

The event also hosted celebrity “visit days”, during which visitors were able to catch a glimpse of their favourite celebrities touring the show and posing with the vehicles. Famous names who had made an appearance at the 10-day event include Diana Danielle, Amyra Rosli, Elizabeth Tan, Jinny Boy, Alif Satar, Sazzy Falak, Marsha Milan and Nazim Othman.

Pretty nice for folks who are into that sort of stuff, but I was all in just for the cars. The Visitors’ Grand Lucky Draw was more my thing though. It was a nice touch on the organisers’ part – three cars were up for grabs for whoever got a ticket into the event.

The grand prizes were a Toyota C-HR, Honda City and a Perodua Myvi sponsored by UMW Toyoto Motor Sdn Bhd, Honda Malaysia Sdn Bhd and Perodua Sales Sdn Bhd respectively. In addition, online KLIMS’18 ticket purchasers were entered into the draw to win an AirAsia return flight to Tokyo.

Datuk Aishah Ahmad added of the car show, “The MAA has pulled out all the stops to present a show worth visiting for visitors. Besides the largest and thrilling car displays and activities, visitors can find products and accessories related for automobiles under one roof. We are confident that visitors will find KLIMS’18 an eye-opening experience packed with automotive action.”

On the preview day, the media were given unrestricted access to snap photos of the cars on display. It was an exciting experience to get up close to view the innovative concept cars and technologies showcased, such as auto sensors, non-carbon-emitting cars, and other technologies.

A few cars are worth mentioning, such as the New CAM Co-Star, a unique minibus that can be driven by everyone with a D driver’s license (Class 3 license in Brunei) in Malaysia, a very convenient city transporter and a one-of-a-kind vehicle in Malaysia.

My take on the event? Fun and enjoyable. The showcase has certainly whetted my appetite for more car shows, and I can’t wait for the 19th iteration of the Kuala Lumpur International Motor Show (KLIMS’19) – most likely to take place in 2021 – where I’m expecting newer innovations, fresh previews of concept cars, and more new model launches.