Monday, May 28, 2012

We are pleased to invite you to another CAN'T MISS EVENT....with John Conomos AO, Australia’s Automotive Envoy. He will present the status and vision for the Automotive Industry in Australia:

Automotive Australia 2020 Roadmap
Date: Wednesday, June 13th, 2012
Registration: 4.30 PM
Presentation: 5.00 PM (please be on time)
Location: Pattana Golf Club (click here for a map)

Friday, May 25, 2012

AFG Meeting Report

Check out Doc Iain's comprehensive report on the May 2012 AFG Meeting. Thanks again to our speaker Peter Wolf, our members, sponsors and partners for making this an interesting session on BMW Thailand and the EABC European Asean Business Centre.

The report was published yesterday in Pattaya Mail the report is as follows:

The Automotive Focus Group (AFG) packed the meeting room at the Pattaya Marriott Resort and Spa to listen to Peter Wolf, the MD of BMW Manufacturing Thailand at the Rayong plant.

Peter Wolf has been the MD at BMW Manufacturing Thailand since July 2010 and has been part of the overall growth of the company in Thailand which has maintained growth rates between 26-28 percent over the past three years, with their 220 employees producing 5,000 vehicles annually from CKD.  To service this output, which is mainly for domestic markets BMW now has 18 service centers, plus four dedicated to MINI.  There is, however, some limited export of the 7-Series to Indonesia and the 5-Series to Malaysia.

Peter Wolf, MD BMW Manufacturing Thailand.

Initially, the manufacturing plant had one assembly line which was expanded from the 3-Series to include the 7-Series, but this was expanded to incorporate a second assembly line because of the differences in the 5-Series.  At present the plant handles 25 variants, 10 engines, 21 exterior colors and 22 interior colors.

BMW keep their local content between 43-51 percent, but sourcing locally is not as easy as it should be, according to Peter Wolf.  Local homologation just takes too long, as Thai bureaucracy can be slow and cumbersome.  There are also price differentials not in the favor of local sourcing.

After the address covering BMW, Peter Wolf introduced the EABC to the AFG Members.  This is the European-ASEAN Business Center and the EABC has as its associates, most of the major Chambers of Commerce.  It is a European Trade Organization located in Bangkok which aims to contribute to the improvement of the trade and investment climate for European companies in Thailand.  BMW, of course, is represented there.

Following the presentation was a lively Q&A session with the AFG’s founding president George Strampp first to grasp the thorny nettle of the ‘grey market’.  Peter Wolf admitted that there were problems with different rules and regulations between locally produced and externally sourced vehicles.  However, he did say that BMW does service ‘grey market’ vehicles as after all, they are BMW’s and all BMW’s, no matter where manufactured have to meet BMW’s high standards.

John Lindsay, FUTURIS and Leigh Wilmott, Austrade
Leight Wilmott from Austrade asked whether there was a need to change set-ups between Germany and Thailand, to which Peter Wolf said “No changes, including run-flat tyres.”

He was asked if we were going to see new manufacturers setting up in Thailand, such as VW-Audi, but he did not believe so.  He also did not feel that Thailand’s local suppliers were in a position to supply other manufacturing countries, but did express a cautionary note that unless Thailand brings down the bureaucratic red tape barriers, then Thailand could be left behind by neighboring countries which could be looking for a slice of the ASEAN automotive industry pie.

Hardy souls then moved on to the AmCham, AustCham, BCCT combined chambers of commerce networking also held in the Marriott’s meeting room.

Check Engine Lights at Kent Rylee!!

Why Is My Check Engine Light On?

Kent Rylee Automotive Has Answers.

The Check Engine Light strikes fear into the hearts of some Rogers drivers and is totally ignored by just as many. Just what it means is a mystery to most of us in AR.

First, if your family car check engine light is flashing, that means that something is wrong that could cause severe damage to the catalytic converter or other components. Get that taken care of right away. If your check engine light is flashing, you shouldn’t drive at Rogers highway speeds, tow or haul heavy loads. Take it easy all the way to Kent Rylee Automotive in Rogers.

If the light is glowing steadily, you should keep an eye on it for a day or two. If the light doesn’t go off, schedule an appointment with your Rogers service advisor to get it checked out.

Some more information from Kent Rylee Automotive on how the Check Engine Light works may be informative. Most of your family car engine functions are controlled by a computer, not surprisingly, called an engine control computer. The computer is able to adjust many engine parameters for environmental conditions, engine condition and even the way you drive in Rogers.

In order to make these adjustments, the family car computer relies on a network of sensors to provide data. The computer knows the proper operating range for each sensor. When a sensor reading is out of range the computer runs some tests and may turn on the Check Engine Light.

The family car computer will also try to make adjustments to compensate for some readings. If it can do so, it’ll then turn off the Check Engine Light.

If the problem can’t be resolved then the light will remain on and you should get your family car looked at at Kent Rylee Automotive. Your considerate service technician will plug a scanner into the on-board diagnostic port and read the trouble code stored in the computer. The trouble code will give your Kent Rylee Automotive technician a starting place as he diagnoses the cause of the problem.

At Kent Rylee Automotive, we also offer battery service and check engine light diagnostic.

Give us a call

Kent Rylee Automotive 479.636.3333 2100 South 8th Street Rogers, AR 72756

At Kent Rylee Automotive in Rogers AR (72756) we install quality NAPA replacement parts. Give us a call at 479.636.3333 or visit us at

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

THE NATION has an interesting article by Pattanadesh Asasappakij on the evolution of the pickup in Thailand:

Light trucks or pickup trucks were first introduced in Thailand by the US Army, which was stationed at various airports in the Kingdom.
The vehicles were purely American brands such as Chevrolet, Ford, GMC, Dodge, etc.
It was only in 1970 that Datsun introduced a small pickup truck with a 1,200cc 4-cylinder gasoline engine, which looked like pickup trucks sold today. Nissan later introduced a larger body but still used a small gasoline engine, and it quickly became the most popular pickup truck in the Thai market. The pickup remained in production for many years, while there were also competitors such as Toyota Hilux, Mazda Proceed and Daihatsu, which was very strong in the Chiang Mai public transport market…

Check out the whole feature here.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Japanese Business Structure - Toyota and the Keiretsu System

Japanese Business Structure - Toyota and the Keiretsu SystemThe Toyota Group (Keiretsu)

A keiretsu is a cluster of interlinked Japanese firms, centered on a bank, which lends money to member companies and holds an equity stake in these companies. By combining forces, these companies are able to reduce costs and risk, better facilitate communication, ensure trust and reliability and provide insulation from outside competition. There are two types of keiretsu, horizontal and vertical. Horizontal, inter-market keiretsu are diversified networks of large companies. These included the three aforementioned descendents of the pre-WWII zaibatsu. Vertical manufacturing and distribution keiretsu are asymmetric networks where small-firm sectors are dominated by large sectors.

The Toyota Group is considered to be the largest of the vertically-integrated keiretsu groups. The United States and most Western countries looked unfavorably upon the keiretsu because they interpreted such a business scheme to be that of an outlawed monopoly or cartel.

The Toyota Group is a terrific example of a highly successful, complex and prominent keiretsu in Japan. It is a member of the Mitsui Group, which is one of its main banks, but functions very independently of the bank. In the past couple of decades, Toyota has been on the top of the list domestically in the United States as well as abroad in terms of sales and profits. The parent firm generates, on average, $72 billion each year in sales with 72,000 employees. That equates to one million dollars in sales per employee, which is roughly six-times that of competitor, General Motors. Toyota has been the best selling car in Japan for over twenty-four years. This alone shows the clout and power of the Japanese keiretsu.

This company is the largest industrial combine in Japan and one of the largest keiretsu in the nation. Another amazing fact is that Toyota is much more than a car manufacturer. In fact, Toyota is a major participant in three telecommunication companies; it is a principle investor in a computer system development firm; and it holds stakes in an insurance company specializing in automotive insurance. Furthermore, Toyota operates four real estate firms, two financial firms and is currently exploring opportunities in the aerospace industry.

Due to the prominence of keiretsu in post-WWII Japan, only those employees that worked in core firm sectors benefited. Those who were forced to work at small firms suffered from low wages, limited career mobility and job instability. Much can be said for the keiretsu system, which, as seen in the case study on the Toyota Group, can yield much power and success.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

More Than Just a Distributor

More Than Just a DistributorBusinesses are often more than what they are known for. I mean look at Target. A lot of people love their clothes or bedding, domestic products. They also sell groceries now. Mechanics not only fix under the hood, but some offer detailing of the interior of your car. The same goes for liquid handling distributors, and distributors as a whole. Their services go beyond simply distributing air diaphragm pumps or positive displacement pumps. They also design control panels and fabricate new ideas.

Usually with industrial vendors, such as liquid handling or automotive distributors, work side by side with engineers to offer customers CAD capabilities. Computer assisted drafting (CAD) is the most common software engineers use. I know there are different types of engineers, even architects use CAD, but ask about this program and they'll know what you're talking about.

It's quite convenient what services distributors have collaborated. When a business utilizes such liquid flow materials, they know the topic pretty well and probably have ideas that either they or other businesses could benefit from using. So, when going to purchase new pump or meter parts, why not see about engineering capabilities? They'll help you get your ideas out of your head and into real life.

If you're not impressed, read the testimonials; listen to word-of-mouth. Leading distributors are capable of offering those additional services. Let's be honest. They have the budget for it most likely. Experience is the main factor for good business. Myself included, I don't know anyone who would hire someone with a bad reputation. My mom learned that the hard way and I learned a lesson. She hired a contractor to do out kitchen and he asked for an advance only to never show up again... until small claims court.

Then again, added services could be a business ploy, but a good one nonetheless. As a customer you may realize there are things you didn't know you needed. CAD capabilities could be something of an impulsive purchase you make at the store. Liquid handling equipment ranges from liquid flow meters to Wilden Pumps. Brands are often important to customers; it's about status and quality products. So now the next time you make a visit to your distributor, look deeper into the services they provide. You may just find the way to bring your ideas to life. Or you may realize there is a better service provider out there.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Auto Detail Supplies - Controlling Costs for Quality, Efficiency, and Profits

Auto Detail Supplies - Controlling Costs for Quality, Efficiency, and ProfitsAs a former franchisor of mobile car washes and mobile detail trailers, I was privy to quite a bit of information and real-world experience in the sector. I often noted that the money was in the time, and not necessarily in job, especially when it came to mobile car washing. In the custom auto detailing business, it is all about perfection, and therefore there is a high price point in high-end detailing. Still, as the economy gets tough, these types of small service businesses need to find ways to cut costs.

Not long ago I was talking to a young entrepreneur about this, specifically how he could cut his costs as he was spending nearly $700 per month on his automotive detailing supplies. He made a list of all the types of cleaners he was using and waxes, and he asked me if I thought there were any ways to trim those costs. Therefore, I asked him the following question;

1. Are you using Walmart "spray-away" glass cleaner?
2. Have you considered using non-detailing brand degreasers?
3. How much are you spending on wax, are you using AutoMagic?
4. How are your new driving habits helping fuel economy?

You see, you can go to a big box retailer and buy nearly the same glass cleaner. Sometimes it is made by the same company that you would normally buy from an auto details supplier. Also, it is not totally imperative to use auto detailing brand degreasers, there are many degreasers on the market which are water soluble, and cost a lot less money. Further, there are some proprietary auto detailing brand names which are the best-of-breed, these products will help you do a superior job, and increase your performance and efficiency, save you time and money even if they cost a little bit more.

Lastly, I would like to say that your auto detailing team or your mobile car washers can improve their efficiency through superior training, and working with each other as a team the unit almost to the point of reading each other's minds, able to detail an entire car without talking to one another. Each team member knows what the other is doing. As long as you are paying them fairly, and giving them the money they deserve, they should be working at the optimal efficiency. If you are in the auto detailing business I have the following question to ask you;

Have you instituted a "tip sharing bonus program" with your employees to increase cash work and cash car washing?

If you aren't doing this, you should, and you should find other mobile car wash stops or office buildings that you can zip into once a week and make extra cash money to help meet your expenses and keep your revenues where they should be. I hope these tips have helped you. I want you to succeed in business, no matter what the economy is doing. So, please think on it.

Friday, May 11, 2012

AFG Meeting 18th of May 2012

We are pleased to invite you to another CAN'T MISS EVENT....with Peter Wolf, Managing Director of BMW Manufacturing Thailand. He will present status and vision for BMW in Thailand and introduce the Automotive Working Group at the EABC (European Asean Business Centre):

Date: Friday, May 18th, 2012
Registration: 5.00 PM
Presentation: 5.30 PM - 6.30 PM

Location: Marriott Pattaya, Beach Road

Please click on YES or NO  NOW, so we can reserve your seat at this interesting event.
Peter Wolf

Part 1: BMW Manufacturing Thailand Today and Tomorrow
– BMW in Thailand und ASEAN
– View to AEC 2015 (Asean Economic Community)
Part 2: European ASEAN Business Centre EABC Automotive Working Group
– EABC Background
– Members
– Position Papers
– Timeline
– Participation for AFG & members

Speaker: Peter Wolf 
Peter Wolf assumed his position at BMW Manufacturing (Thailand) on 1 July 2010. Mr. Wolf (53) has been working with BMW Group for nearly 25 years. Before joining BMW Manufacturing Thailand, he served in the position of Managing Director of BMW Fahrzeugtechnik Eisenach GmbH (or 'BMW Plant Eisenach') in Germany. In addition, he had extensive experience in various areas of production, technology and logistics. In his current  position, he is responsible for managing the overall business for BMW Manufacturing Thailand, or so-called BMW Plant Rayong – assembling BMW automobiles to supply to BMW Group Thailand for domestic sales, as well as export to other BMW subsidiaries in the ASEAN region.
Networking: After the presentation, AFG Members are invited to join a combined AMCHAM/AUSTCHAM/BCCT networking session sponsored by DANA and VISTEON at member rates (400 Baht instead of 800 Baht).

NOTE: We will have our 5th Anniversary Celebration & as a 'stand-alone' Function in June 2012. We had to move the event from the 25th due to a schedule conflict with the annual AMCHAM golf tournament.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Proton Delisted From Malaysia's Stock Exchange

Proton has been delisted from Bursa Malaysia, almost eight years since joining the local stock exchange, after new owners DRB-Hicom succeeded in securing 98.6 percent (as at April 26) of Proton shares, above the threshold of 90 percent required to privatise Proton.
Starting with the buying of a 42.74 percent stake in Proton from Khazanah Nasional Bhd at RM 5.50 a share early this year, DRB-Hicom then launched a mandatory general offer for the remaining shares it did not own, valuing Proton at RM 3.02 billion. With 98.6 percent now in hand, DRB-Hicom can compulsorily acquire the 1.4 percent still with investors.
Without the public eye of scrutiny, DRB-Hicom will have the flexibility to embark on long-term plans to make Proton a more profitable company, and not worry about short-term results that the stock market players are more concerned about. Approvals from shareholders on any future corporate exercises will no longer be needed once Proton becomes private.
And indeed change is in the air: DRB-Hicom Bhd managing director Datuk Seri Mohd Khamil Jamil was asked in March to assume the leading position as Proton's executive chairman and executive director, taking over from Proton's then chairman and director Datuk Seri Mohd Nadzmi Mohd Salleh.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Honda restarts Thai vehicle deliveries

Honda has commenced delivery of vehicles to customers across the country, with its Ayutthaya plant having resumed operations in late March.

However, Honda dealers are facing further pressure as the Japanese auto-maker has chopped the credit period for dealers from 1 month to just 10 days.

Honda's two assembly plants in Ayutthaya were totally submerged during last year's massive flood, resulting in more than 60,000 customers orders going unanswered.

Read the full story here.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Lingenfelter Collection Saturday 4/28/12

Great Tour at the Lingenfelter Collection on Saturday, April 28. Take a look for more pictures on thanks to Charles Krome. His 2 daughters joined us as well as students from the Wayne State Industrial Design Department. The future car guys among us. Pat Bisson gave an overview of SAH National and our web site . The web site is being updated by Mark Patrick who now resides in Florida. You can find Mark on Facebook and can also email him at for more information. Top Hat John, Pat Bisson, Leroy Cole did an excellent job introducing and talking with our special guests.

China Automotive comes to Thailand

SAIC & CP team up to bring Chinese car manufacturing to Thailand. Volume is unclear with capacity figures between 50,000 and  300,000 vehicles including 50,000 MG and 200,000 motorbikes

Check. out the stories in Bangkok Post and The Nation.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Ford opens new plant, vows major local sourcing of parts

Ford plans to purchase up to US$800 million worth of parts annually from Thailand to supply its new $450-million passenger vehicle plant in Rayong.

The purchases do not include sourcing by Ford for AutoAlliance Thailand, its joint venture with Mazda.

The $800 million in purchases will go to achieving 40% local Asean content, a requirement for automakers wanting to export the vehicles duty-free within the region.

Read the complete Bangkok Post article here.

Ford opens new plant in Rayong

Ford opened a second plant in Thailand on Thursday giving the firm the ability to produce 445,000 vehicles a year in the country. Ford Thailand Manufacturing opened a $450 million U.S. manufacturing plant in the Eastern Seaboard Industrial Estate, which is roughly 99 miles southeast of Bangkok.

Check out the video here.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Tips and Tires: Rogers Ar

Have you ever had the experience of driving along a near empty road when suddenly, your tire goes flat? I have experienced it for quite a lot time actually, maybe a hobby of my car tires. Rogers Ar is the place where it usually happens. I don’t know why but my car tires seems to love being flat in Rogers.

I remembered one time when I was driving along Rogers and, suddenly, my tire goes flat. It was my first time, by the way, to experience that so, yeah, I got so nervous with just a flat tire (what more if it has been tires). Rogers Ar, though being one of the largest cities in the state, doesn’t have much people around that time whom I could ask for help so I felt worse. Good thing I have a friend living nearby, whom, after hearing my call for help, immediately came to my rescue. There are also many shops selling tires Rogers Ar has scattered around the whole city and so I easily had my car pumped up and ready to roll in no time.

Flat tires may sound as a little problem only but hey, it has caused accidents already so we better be ready when such an incident came. How could you be ready? Here are some tips in preventing the risk of it.

1. Make sure that your car’s tires are in good condition. There is no harm in being meticulous sometimes.

2. Perform regular air pressure checks.

3. Make sure that you have a well-pressured spare tire with you all the time.

These ways can prevent but what if one day you unfortunately had another flat tire or had your spare flat too? Here are some ways you could follow to avoid accidents when it happens:

1. Gradually decrease your speed to maintain your control on your car.

2. Find your way out of the traffic flow. Avoid making hasty moves. Slowly steer yourself to safety.

3.)Wait for help to arrive. Don’t force on fixing it up when you really don’t know how to, unless you are an “expert” on it. If you are in a busy highway, it is best to call a professional for help since cities have many auto repair shops that fix tires. Rogers Ar, for example, has many of it.

These are just some of the things that you could do when facing such situation. What’s best is to prevent it from happening in the first place. But for those who are like me, having Rogers-loving car tires, Rogers Ar should probably be avoided from now on. Otherwise, we should always have extra dollars to have it repaired by the shops for tires Rogers Ar has all around the city.