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THE Singapore Motorshow 2017 opened to the general public on Friday on a relatively quiet note, but most distributors are confident of a bigger turnout this weekend.
Before the show, some dealers had been concerned that buying sentiment could be clouded by the slow economy.
However, those at the event remained upbeat despite the thin crowd early on Friday, which some said was smaller than on a weekday at last year's show.
Nicholas Wong, general manager of authorised Honda distributor Kah Motor, said: "We have to wait for the weekend."
At the Mazda booth, William Low, Trans Eurokars general manager for sales, said: "It is still early. As in previous years, the main crowd should be coming in on Saturday and Sunday."
His confidence is also based on the fact that "many people have heard about the show and are waiting to get a good bargain". To that end, he is offering the Mazda3 at S$98,800, after a S$3,000 show discount.
The Jan 12-15 motor show is the third consecutive instalment of the local automotive event organised by the Motor Traders Association (MTA) of Singapore, a grouping of mainly authorised car distributors. The show, which took a break of more than six years, returned in 2015 as Certificate of Entitlement (COE) quotas began expanding again.
This year's show has 27 MTA members - three more than last year's event - who have spread their vehicles over two floors at the Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre.
Many models new to Singapore are on display. The Mazda stand has two - the MX-5 RF and the CX-9 sport-utility vehicle. The MX-5 retractable fastback is an open-top two-seater with a 2.0-litre engine, and the CX-9 is a large seven-seater SUV.
Over at Nissan, the Pulsar nameplate is making a comeback to the Singapore market with a Latio-sized five-door hatchback. The Nissan Pulsar has a 1.2-litre four-cylinder turbo engine - the same as the one in the Qashqai SUV - and is listed at S$103,800.
Also being unveiled is the Nissan Note e-Power mini-hatchback, an electric vehicle with a 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol engine to generate the electricity.
Toyota has two models which are interesting for different reasons. The ultra-cool CH-R crossover is striking for its sculpted body that uses a 1.2-litre turbo engine mated to a continuously variable transmission. The Harrier, with its blinding exterior chrome finish, is also a visual treat, but it is more significant for emphasising authorised Toyota distributor Borneo Motors Singapore's determination to take on the parallel importers. The Toyota Harrier was Singapore's second most popular grey import last year.
At the luxury end of the scale, Mercedes-Benz is showing the coupe version of the high-performance C43 as well as the sporty GLC Coupe, which is a GLC crossover with a sloping roofline.
Another German brand, Volkswagen, is taking the wraps off the popular Tiguan SUV and its Beetle Cabriolet.