Golden year for auto industry

Thailand's automobile industry has enjoyed a history-making 2012 with record output, exports and domestic sales, according to Kasikorn Research Center.

  • Published: 8/12/2012 at 04:32 PM
  • Newspaper section: breakingnews

A presenter shows off a new Honda Jazz model at the Thailand International Motor Expo at Impact Muang Thong Thani. (Photo by Phrakrit Juntawong)

Domestic car and pickup truck production this year is on course to reach 2.4 million units, with local sales of 1.4 million and more than 1 million units exported, said the Kasikornbank affiliate.

Thailand could become the world's ninth largest carmaker due to the substantial increase in output, it added.

The country is currently ranked 13th but it will move past some big producers, including Spain and France, where output is down because of weak demand in Europe.

K-Research said carmakers this year had shown an ability to quickly restore production capacity to normal levels after being affected by severe floods late last year.

As well, it said, they had benefited from the marketing of new models that served market demand, and the government's tax rebates for first-time car buyers.

The Thailand International Motor Expo, which opened on Nov 30 and runs until Dec 11, is creating further demand for new cars, especially among first-time buyers seeking to qualify before the tax breaks expire on Dec 31.

K-Research forecast that a record 60,000 cars would be booked during the event. In the first six days to Dec 5, organisers reported 28,488 bookings.

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