Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Industrial Ministry targets 3mn annual car output by 2017

More news from THE NATION:

The Industry Ministry has set a target for the country's total automobile production to reach 3 million units by 2017.

In collaboration with the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) represented by the Automotive Industry Club and the Auto Parts Industry Club; the Thai Automotive Industry Association; the Thai Auto Parts Manufacturers' Association; the Office of the Board of Investment; and the Thailand Automotive Institute, the ministry yesterday announced that production by the the Thai automotive industry had exceeded 2 million units for the first time.

Ministry permanent secretary Vitoon Simachokdee said total production was expected to reach about 2.3 million this year, of which 1.3 million vehicles would for sale domestically and the rest for export.

About 252,165 vehicles were manufactured in October alone, up 410 per cent over the same month last year. The high growth was due to the low production at the end of last year because of the massive floods that hit Bangkok and many provinces.

About 2.5 million vehicles are expected to be manufactured next year, partly driven by the government's first-car tax-break scheme, for which some deliveries will be made in 2013.

Vitoon said the Thailand Automotive Institute would offer the ministry a development plan for the auto industry, to be in effect from this year through 2016, including a test centre for auto parts and a driving-test facility worth a total of about Bt8 billion.

"The automotive sector is one of the country's major strategic industries. The Ministry of Industry has played a vital role in establishing the policy and strategy for the integrated development of the automotive industry, leading to tremendous annual value-added benefits for Thailand," he said.

"These benefits include growing exports, increased employment, technological development and many activities to boost the potential development of the automotive industry and related industries all through the supply chain."

He said the automotive and auto-parts industries played a very significant role in the generation of national income. The companies in the automotive sector are also major players in the social development of Thailand, employing more than 800,000 skilled labourers, with the subsequent transfer of high-technology production techniques and knowledge.

Thailand's entry to the Asean Economic Community, which is a large market, will present a significant opportunity for Thai auto manufacturers. The government will set a strategy to achieve the goal of producing more than 3 million vehicles by 2017.

FTI chairman Payungsak Chartsutipol said: "The Thai automotive industry has grown steadily with continual support from the government and other relevant private organisations, all of which have worked together to drive the entire industry.

"The government has set the policy and direction that have been implemented by the private sector to enhance the industry's competitiveness in the global market, making Thailand one of the world's top 10 automobile-production bases."

He added that 2012 "marks a golden year of the Thai automotive industry as we celebrate the production of more than 2 million cars with an export value of more than Bt1 trillion, topping all exports from Thailand. The product champions are pickups and eco-cars, and auto parts were also shipped globally.

"With such positive trends in mind, the automotive industry anticipates that Thai automobile production will soon reach more than 3 million units," Payungsak said.