Monday, February 28, 2011

Thailand seen holding onto crown of "Detroit of Asia"

Martin Apfel, president of General Motors' Thailand/Southeast Asia operations

Thailand makes news in the US:

Half a world away from the cold streets of Michigan, General Motors (GM.N) is getting ready to roll its first diesel engine out of a recently opened factory in eastern Thailand.

Nearby, Ford Motor (F.N) is building a manufacturing plant and Suzuki Motor (7269.T) aims to start producing environmentally friendly cars at a new factory in 2012.

Welcome to the "Detroit of Asia", a vast area 120 km (75 miles) east of Bangkok, where durian orchards have given way to car plants over the past decade and vehicles are made for export to more than 200 countries.

While facing increasing competition as an auto manufacturing hub from countries including India, China and Indonesia, Thailand looks likely to retain its dominant position and win more investment thanks to its low wage costs and strong infrastructure