Monday, 28 May 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, 25 May 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.

Tuesday, 22 May 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.

Friday, 11 May 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, 8 May 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, 7 May 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, 5 May 2012

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, 3 May 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.