Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Automotive sector to drive Malaysia's competitiveness


THE automotive sector's transformation map has and will continue to make Malaysia competitive, even with challenging free trade pacts like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which Malaysia hopes to be a member.

Signs of steady improvement in the sector have been showing in the past decade since the Asean Free Trade Area (Afta), Japan-Malaysia Economic Partnership Agreement and the Malaysia-Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA), enabling Malaysia to be on the same page as the leading automotive countries in the world.

"(Global) competitiveness is what we have been preparing for. Right from Afta, the government has been liberalising the industry," said Malaysia Automotive Institute chief executive officer Madani Sahari.

With Afta, for instance, there is nothing to stop automotive manufacturers from using Indonesia to sell their vehicles to the Malaysian market.

Both the trade pacts with Japan and Australia, which come into effect in 2016, will see zero import duties for vehicles from these markets.

The National Automotive Policy (NAP), which is undergoing its second revision after the first in 2006, has paved the path towards liberalising the industry further by extending licences to energy-efficient vehicles (EEV) for all vehicles.


How do these developments impact Proton and Perodua?

"They need to transform now. Perodua has been aggressive in reducing prices because it reduces operation costs," he said.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Toyota starts production at Gateway 2 plant

To meet the rising demand in domestic and overseas markets, Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) in Japan, and TMT decided to invest about 11,000 million Thai Baht in another new assembly plant in Thailand which is “Gateway 2” at Chachoengsao province to assemble passenger cars with the annual production capacity at the beginning of about 80,000 units with 1,500 employments. As a result, this will increase Toyota total normal production capacity of up to 770,000 units per year. The production at the Gateway 2 plant will start on 26 August 2013.

Friday, 23 August 2013

Thailand invites VW to build eco-cars in Kingdom


Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra would like to see German carmaker Volkswagen invest in the manufacture of eco-cars in Thailand, which has attractive investment-promotion policies and a strong automobile industry.

Yingluck met with Volkswagen AG chief executive officer Christian Klingler and discussed problems and obstacles associated with manufacturing eco-cars in Thailand.

Klingler was told that the government has policies to promote regional trade via investment in transport infrastructure, which will facilitate the transport needs of the private sector region-wide. Thailand is in a strong position to be a major regional manufacturing base for vehicles of various brands from several countries.

She welcomed Volkswagen to explore the opportunities for eco-cars in Thailand. The Ministry of Industry and the Board of Investment are ready to provide assistance to the company should it be interested in investing in a plant here, she said.

Klingler said Volkswagen was interested in expanding its investments in Southeast Asia, including Thailand, which offers attractive business potential.

Volkswagen is confident in the investment climate offered by Thailand the rapidly growing Thai automotive industry amid the vast business potentials in this region, he added.

Industry Ministry finalising eco-car project policy


The Industry Ministry has announced that conditions for Phase 2 of the eco-car project are nearly finalised and will be forwarded to the Board of Investment (BOI) for next week's meeting.

Meanwhile, the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) has expressed concerns that rushing to get approval of Phase 2 of the policy could affect Phase I manufacturers.

Industry Minister Prasert Boonchaisuk will chair a meeting today of the subcommittee for investment promotion policy to discuss Phase 2 of the eco-car policy, according to a ministry source. The results will be forwarded to the BOI meeting to be chaired by Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong next Wednesday.

Planned policy of the eco-car is likely to be announced this year for next year's investment, the source said. Thailand hopes to have produced 3 million eco-cars by 2017. Five carmakers are expected to invest in Phase I of the eco-car project. They are Toyota, Honda, Mitsubishi, Nissan and Suzuki.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

PROTON launches Suprima S

Proton has unveiled a hatchback version of the Prevé saloon - the Suprima S.

Held at the Matrade Exhibition and Convention Centre, the Proton Suprima S was unveiled by the advisor of the Proton Group, Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, accompanied by Proton executive chairman Mohd Khamil and deputy chief executive officer Lukman Ibrahim.

The company says the new model is its most well-equipped product to date, with the Premium variant offering a host of features never before seen in a Proton model. This includes Proton Infotainment with Android-based Operating System, rear LED light guides, DRL (Daytime Running Lights), Hill-Hold Assist, and Park Assist with front parking sensors.

The Suprima S is powered by Proton's 1.6-litre turbo engine, mated to a seven-speed ProTronic CVT. Proton claims it delivers power and torque equivalent to a 2.0-litre naturally aspirated engine.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Thai auto sales drop 25% in July 2013

Thailand Automotive Industry Statistics - July 2013

Domestic car sales over the month totalled 98,251 units, down 25.4% on July 2012 and a decline of 7.33% on June.

Sales volume stayed below 100,000 units for the first time in 15 months, because car makers had delivered all vehicles ordered under the first car scheme and due to stricter car loan conditions imposed by financial firms.

Car sales over the first seven months of the year stood at 839,046 units, up 13.06% on the same period last year.

A total of 82,710 vehicles were exported in July, down 13.99% on July 2012 and 14.01% on June, Surapong Paisitpatanapong, spokesman for the Automotive Industry Club, said on Thursday.

The vehicle export value for the month stood at 39.45 billion baht, down 16.21% on July 2012, said Mr Surapong.

Exports over the first seven months of the year (Jan-July) totalled 617,076 units, up 11.54% from the same period last year.

Car exports accounted for 99.07% of the total for-export production output, showing a strong demand in overseas markets. Export value was up 6.05% from the same period last year to stand at 280.27 billion baht.

Vehicle output in July stood at 201,446 units, down 6.45% on July 2012 and a decline of 7.21% on June. Output over the first seven months of the year amounted to 1,542,405 units, an increase of 20.82% on the same period last year.

Mr Surapong projected car output over the next three months (Aug-Oct) at 618,619 units, down 4.89% on the 650,445 units actual output from May to July 2013, and a decline of 11.52% on 699,155 units actual output from August to October 2012.

Indonesia, Thailand to drive Asean car market to 4.7 million units in 2019, says Frost & Sullivan

The ASEAN automotive market is set to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.8% (2012-2019) to 4.71 million units in 2019, mainly driven by rapid market expansions in Indonesia and Thailand, market researchers Frost & Sullivan said today.

Check out the whole story here.

VW Plant Indonesia...

According to 'usually well informed sources' VW is planning to announce a plant for passenger vehicles in early September - Start of Production 2017 marking the serious entry of European car industry into ASEAN.

We'll continue to follow the story and keep you posted.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Auto industry faces crossroads ahead of ASEAN trade pact

Via VietNamNet

Viet Nam's automotive industry could face major collapse under commitments to the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) which will abolish auto import taxes in 2018.

Mazda cars manufactured by Vina Mazda, a subsidiary of Mazda, at the Quang Nam-based Chu Lai – Truong Hai Complex roll off the production line.
ASEAN + will waive taxes on car imports between ASEAN member countries, as well as Japan, South Korea and China, who are party to the agreement.
The tax cut poses a disastrous threat to Viet Nam's fledgling auto industry, unable to compete with the price and quality of imports.
"If we do not make immediate measures, Viet Nam would become a big auto importer in the region" said Ngo Van Tru, Deputy Head of the Heavy Industry Department of the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

The last chance

It has been 20 years since foreign car makers first built factories in Viet Nam. In spite of a long history of Government investment, Viet Nam's auto industry faces significant hurdles.
Under the new agreement, the country has only five years to develop its auto industry to compete with an impending influx of imports after 2018.
"The situation shows that it would be a chance to develop the local auto industry, but if we miss this chance, Viet Nam will be the auto import market," a representative from the Ministry of Industry and Trade said in a recent conference.
There are currently 18 auto makers that belong to the Viet Nam Automobile Manufacturers Association (VAMA). Approximately 30 others have a combined investment of over US$1 billion and an output over 200,000 cars per year.
According to the Industry and Trade Ministry's report, the local auto industry is behind on most of its targets.
While the target for local diesel production was set to reach 100,000 units by 2010, Truong Hai is the only company to invest in a diesel factory which will begin production in 2014.
As many as 100,000 gearboxes and 100,000 transmission systems were forecast for production in 2010. No investment has been made.
Meanwhile, Viet Nam plays host to only 210 auto parts manufacturers, one fifth of Indonesia's production base and one fifteenth of Thailand's.
Adding insult to injury, most of these companies produce simple and low technology products with low local contents.
According to the General Director of Toyota Viet Nam, Yoshihisa Maruta, a long term development plan, stable policies and greater incentives for auto makers would provide a necessary boost to Viet Nam's auto industry.
The GM Viet Nam General Director, Guarav Gupta, called on the Government to develop a detailed plan to support the local auto industry and boost investor confidence.

Detailed plan needed

The Ministry of Industry and Trade has revised the auto industry master plan in a bid to save the auto industry.
The Viet Nam Automobile Development Plan, which looks as far as 2020, classifies market opportunities to help producers meet the demands of market segments. The plan aligns with current development plans to revolutionise the manufacturing sector, according to Tran Tuan Anh, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade.
Anh said the Ministry has added three "breaking" solutions to the revised plan, including stable policies for the auto industry, producing environmentally-friendly vehicles and creating favourable conditions for car makers.
According to the Viet Nam Automobile Manufacturers Association (VAMA), domestic auto sales exceeded 49,800 units in the first half of this year, up 16 per cent on 2012 figures.
Car and truck sales grew 22 per cent and 13 per cent respectively, from 2012.
VAMA forecasts indicate sales will reach 112,000 units after a proposed 10-12 per cent cut in auto registration fees.
Source: VNS

Malaysia: Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement likely to benefit car companies


PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s impending involvement in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) has set tongues wagging about the potential impact it would have on various industries in the country in particular the local automotive sector.

One argument is that signing such an agreement would open the markets to countries with closed markets, hence putting Malaysia and local car companies at a disadvantage.

It is known that Japanese, South Korean, Chinese and European cars could benefit from the national status of Asean countries, merely by being assembled in those (Asean) countries with a minimum of 40% local content such as batteries, tyres and a few other components.

Read the full text here

Thursday, 11 July 2013

AFG Meeting with Chaiyant Savanachai / Borgwarner

Thank you Doc Iain for the following report courtesy of Pattaya Mail:

At the end of June, the Automotive Focus Group (AFG) invited Dr. Chaiyant Savanachai from BorgWarner Thailand who spoke about their current and future activities in Thailand and ASEAN.

Dr. Chaiyant Savanachai is the General Manager, BorgWarner (Thailand) in control of Thailand operations, and reporting to HQ USA.

Dr. Chaiyant Savanachai from BorgWarner Thailand.

With a PhD in international Corporate Management, a Masters in International Economics and a Bachelor in Telecommunication Engineering Dr Chaiyant was an interesting speaker who was well qualified to address the AFG members.

He began with an introduction to global BorgWarner, and then the BorgWarner ASEAN Development & Growth, finishing with a discussion as to where Thailand is heading and the challenges to Thailand in the global marketplace.

He proudly pointed out that the Vision for BorgWarner was to be the global technology leader in powertrain solutions.  Their results in 2012 included 7.18 billion dollars in sales, with 19,100 employees in 57 locations in 19 countries.  Their products covered transmissions, engines and driveline systems, with engines covering 68 percent of sales and powertrains 32 percent of sales.  The market drivers for BorgWarner being fuel economy, emissions and performance.

With engine development going towards down-sizing, turbocharging has become important to produce power, and at the same time produce up to 30 percent improvement in fuel consumption.

Interestingly, he pointed out that China and India are still relying on low technology, while the rest of the western world is heading towards hybrids and energy saving.  Electric supercharging is on its way, with electronic wastegate actuators and exotic materials to be used in turbine wheels.

Dr Chaiyant’s talk was dotted with humorous interludes, where he said that the only copying the firm had to do was to copy themselves!  He also showed slides of the Indy 500 trophy given each year by his company, standing the height of a man, which required a new plinth, to add more winner’s names, as BorgWarner had been donating the trophy for every year since inception.

After the address, the AFG members went on to a networking session with snacks and drinks at the Amari’s ICE BAR.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Benz Thonglor orders shift into overdrive this year

Bangkok Post: Benz Thonglor, a leading authorised dealer of Mercedes-Benz cars, has taken overwhelming sales orders for delivery at the end of next year, a sign luxury auto demand remains strong despite waning consumption in the first quarter.

Wasun Bodhipimpanon, owner of Benz Thonglor, attributed the massive orders to new models but did not elaborate on the amount of orders.

"The rosy economic sentiment has encouraged people to place orders. However, I am worried they may not accept the cars when delivered if the economy turns bleak," he said.

Martin Schulz, vice-president for sales and marketing of Mercedes-Benz (Thailand), recently said at least six new models will be introduced this year, in addition to the 15 models already available.

Mr Wasun said the most popular models have a price tag between 2.5 and 4 million baht.

Each customer who places an order with Benz Thonglor is subject to a 50,000 baht per-car deposit.

Mercedes-Benz sales volume through authorised dealerships across the country this year could reach 7,000 to 7,500 units, said a source who requested anonymity.

The carmaker's sales volume through dealers rose 34% in 2012 year-on-year to 6,274 units.

The National Economic and Social Development Board reported a lower first-quarter GDP than expected, at 5.3% year-on-year, weighed down by slowing domestic consumption and investment.

Monday, 20 May 2013

SAIC Motor-CP Joint Venture Agrees to Lease Ready-Built Factories in Hemaraj Eastern Seaboard Industrial Estate

SAIC Motor-CP Co., Ltd., an automotive industry joint venture founded by China-based automaker SAIC Motor Corporation and Thailand’s CP Group, has reached an agreement with Hemaraj Land And Development Plc. over the leasing of ready-built factories, representing a total area of 17,280 square meters, in Hemaraj Eastern Seaboard Industrial Estate. SAIC Motor-CP is planning to develop a production facility that will initially be capable of building 50,000 vehicles annually under the SAIC-owned MG English brand for Thailand and international markets.

Shown in photo: Mr. David Nardone (5th from left) , President & CEO of Hemaraj Land And Development Plc. exchanges contract with Mr. Nopadol Chiaravanont, (5th from right) Director of SAIC Motor-CP Co., Ltd. while Mr. Wu Huan, (4th from right) President of SAIC Motor-CP Co., Ltd., Mr. Sawasdi Horrungruang (center), Director of Hemaraj Land And Development Plc., Mr. Vivat Jiratikarnsakul, (4th from left) Hemaraj’s Executive Vice President and management of both companies look on.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

With 40 players and 10 teams, the inaugural Automotive Focus Group (AFG) Golf Day at the Pattana golf course even surprised the organizers with the depth of support for this event.

Not only was the event oversubscribed with enthusiastic golfers, most of whom were AFG members, but also the sponsorship purse far exceeded expectations, with companies such as Hemaraj Land and Development even offering 10,000 baht for a hole in one.  The excellent level of sponsorship also meant that there was more money for the charity raffle.

Sponsors for the tournament includes CES (Kevin Fisher, shirts), Marriott (3D/2N JW Marriott), Hemaraj Land and Development (nearest pin and longest drive), Amari (brunches at Mantra), Cromwell Tools (power drill and golf bags), AB World Foods (“Curry for a Year”).

The best team score on the day came from the Triumph Motorcycles (Thailand) Ltd. quartet of Jamie Looker, Russ Daleman, David Mills and David Sutherland.

Runners-up were the team comprising Sean Goonan (AB World Foods Asia Ltd.), Brendan Daly (Amari Hotel), Richard Jackson (RLC Co. Ltd.) and Branislav Balaz (KONE Public Co. Ltd.)

The Longest Drive award went to Peter Hamilton (Nestle) and the Nearest the Pin prize to Bic Gohil from the Ford Thailand Manufacturing Assembly Plant (FTM).

The big winner in the charity raffle was Manita Boontham (CES) who won a 3-days/ 2-nights stay at the JW Marriott Kao Lak.

(courtesy DOC IAIN CORNESS - Pattaya Mail)

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Tata postpones new Thailand factory

Tata has decided to postpone the development of the new facility in Thailand. Previously, Tata had announced it will enter the passenger car market in Thailand during the third quarter, when it will introduce the Nano budget vehicle.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Thai Automotive Sales Statistics April 2013

FT April Numbers are here: A total of 67,641 vehicles were exported in April, up 22.02% on April 2012, but down 34.16% on March.

Vehicle output in April stood at 170,438 units, up 17.40% on April 2012, but down 33.49% on March, due to fewer working days in the month.

Domestic car sales over the month totalled 109,658 units, an increase of 24.91% on April 2012, but a decline of 30.39% on March. Car sales over the first four months of the year stood at 522,914 units, up 42.44% on the same period last year.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

FTI to revise export forecast

Bangkok Post:

The Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) will this month review its full-year automotive export value target amid mounting pressure on car makers from the strong baht.

"The number of cars, 1.1 million vehicles to be exported this year, will remain unchanged, but export value in baht terms may need to be revised due to the continuing strength of the currency," said Surapong Paisitpatanapong, spokesman for the FTI's automotive industry club.

He said car makers have largely secured their international purchase orders through the end of this year, but the strong baht has put production costs on an upward track.

Local pickup truck output sees 80-90% local content and passenger cars 60-70%.

Mr Surapong said hardest hit is the pickup truck segment, regarded as the country's automotive export champion.

Thailand's automotive industry enjoyed a bumper year in 2012, with 2.45 million vehicles made, up by 68.3% from 2011 and lifting Thailand to 10th place among car producing countries. Domestic car sales totalled 1.43 million vehicles last year, up by 80.9%, while motorcycle sales rose by 6.11% to 2.13 million. Car exports increased by 39.6% to 1,026,671 units, a record high since Thailand began exporting cars in 1988 and making the country the world's seventh-largest car exporter. Export value totalled 490 billion baht, up by 42.7%.

The FTI forecasts 2.5 million vehicles will be produced this year, up by 2% from last year, with 1.4 million slated for domestic sales.

The FTI originally projected car exports to fetch the country 527 billion baht, but this was based on sales totalling US$17 billion at an exchange rate of 31 baht to the dollar.

For the entire automotive industry including parts shipments, exports were estimated at 887 billion baht, with parts alone accounting for 360 billion.

Last year, the overall industry generated export revenue of 710 billion baht including 220 billion from auto parts.

"Both cars and auto parts are expected to see export sales drop by 6% if the baht keeps hovering around 29 to the dollar this year," said Mr Surapong.

Takayuki Kimura, the president of Nissan Motor (Thailand), said currency risk is also prompting his company to evaluate its export value target.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Toyota Yaris production to be moved to Indonesia...

A recent report revealed that Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) has plans to build the next-gen Yaris hatchback later this year at the Toyota Karawang plant in West Java, Indonesia. The reason is quite simple; Toyota Thailand will build the new Eco-Car products, so the Yaris production base should be moved to Indonesia.

Read the article on THECARDRIVING here.

Friday, 26 April 2013

Asahi Tec chooses Laos ahead of Thailand

Via Bangkok Post: 

VIENTIANE : Higher labour costs and a labour shortage in Thailand have prompted Japanese auto parts maker Asahi Tec Corporation (ATC) to build its new overseas factory in Laos.

The 1.6-billion-baht plant in Savannakhet province will manufacture aluminium die casting parts.

"The labour shortage and high cost of expansion are the main problems for the expansion plan in Thailand, so Savannakhet is our new investment destination," said ATC director and chairman Shoichiro Irimajiri.

ATC's four factories in Thailand, which produce aluminium and iron casting parts, have already reached full capacity.

A new company, BMM Asahi Tec, has been formed through an equal joint venture with leading Lao company BMM Group, which is involved in property development and duty-free retailing.

The factory will be located in the Savan-Seno Special Economic Zone, which is expected to be a thriving hub of trade and services in the Greater Mekong Subregion.

BMM Asahi Tec plans to sell aluminium die casting parts in Thailand and throughout Southeast Asia based on skills cultivated mainly at ATC Japan.

Construction of the factory is due to start next month, with operations starting in the third quarter of 2014.

The factory is expected to employ 376 workers, mostly from Laos and Vietnam, including engineering experts from Japan and Thailand.

Sales are estimated to reach about 1.5 billion baht a year.

The plant's manufacturing capacity will be about 610 tonnes per month in the first phase, rising to 1,000 tonnes by the end of 2014. With its output from its plant in Samut Prakan's Bang Bo district, its manufacturing capacity of aluminium parts will reach 1,800 tonnes a month.

"Aluminium parts produced in Laos will be exported to car makers in Thailand," said Mr Irimajiri.

Phishith Banyadith, president of the BMM Group, said the Savan-Seno zone has an exemption from corporate income tax for 12 years and a cut in income tax from 30% to 5% for foreign workers.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Car makers may help to fund testing centre

via Bangkok Post

The government is considering collecting contributions from car makers to raise money to establish a centre for testing and research development.

Contributions of 500 to 1,000 baht for each vehicle sold are being considered, according to Phayungsak Chatsuthipol, a member of the state's Strategic Committee for Reconstruction and Future Development (SCRF).

Mr Phayungsak said SCRF chairman Virabongsa Ramangura has instructed the Thailand Automotive Institute to study the feasibility of gathering money from car firms to fund the centre's establishment.

The institute has sought financial support from SCRF for its plan to set up the centre at a cost of 8 billion baht.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Mitsubishi Thailand Capacity Increase


Mitsubishi Motors has announced a Bt1-billion investment aimed at raising its annual Thai auto production capacity to 510,000 units per annum by the end of this year.

The expansion is in line with the carmaker's goal of having exported an aggregate 3 million vehicles from Thailand within the next three to four years.

The company is also in the process of transferring some of its research and development (R&D) units from its Japanese headquarters to Thailand to serve the Asean Economic Community (AEC), which comes into effect in 2015. Osamu Masuko, president and CEO of Mitsubishi Motors Corp, said during his visit to Thailand this week that to celebrate the 2 millionth vehicle produced by the company in the Kingdom, it was investing Bt1 billion in increasing local production capacity to 510,000 units by the end of the year.

The current annual capacity is 460,000 vehicles. Thailand has been promoted by the parent company as one of Mitsubishi's significant global markets as part of its international strategy, and the target is to achieve 3 million units in accumulated Thai exports within the next three to four years. He said the company's decision to transfer some of its R&D units to Thailand had been taken because it wanted to increase the number of local and Japanese engineers in Thailand's R&D department from the current 40 to about 120 within the next two years.

The group will also increase its investment in R&D equipment and testing tracks in the Kingdom. Masuko listed three missions for the local R&D unit: a commitment to develop the quality of any Mitsubishi vehicle produced in Thailand to quickly serve the demand and requirements of Thai consumers; increasing the role of the R&D unit so that it has the ability to develop minor-change models by itself; and conducting its own survey about market and technology trends within Asean to serve the upcoming AEC. Mitsubishi first invested in auto production in Thailand in 1988, and became the first auto-maker to export Thai-made vehicles worldwide.

Another milestone was reached last month, when the company shipped its 2 millionth Thai-made export.

These landmarks reflect the global standard and high-quality vehicle production which made Mitsubishi decide to strengthen its R&D function in Thailand, said the company chief. Mitsubishi Motors Thailand's 2-million export achievement is a mix of completely built-up (CBU) and completely knocked-down (CKD) vehicles.

The approximately 1.7 million CBUs exported were made up of 1,436,146 one-tonne pickups (Strada, L200 and Triton models), 181,464 Pajero Sport passenger pick-up vehicles, and 95,726 passenger cars (Lancer and Mirage models). About 300,000 CKD sets were exported.

The CBUs were mainly shipped to other Asean countries, the Middle East, Europe, Africa and Australia.

The CKDs, largely pickups, were mainly exported to Latin America.

Throughout the 25 years that Mitsubishi Motors Thailand has exported vehicles to more than 140 countries, local production standards and Thai technicians' skills have been accepted and trusted, Masuko added.

The company has three production plants and an engine plant at Leam Chabang Industrial Estate in Chon Buri, which is Mitsubishi's first priority business unit outside Japan. It is second only to the Mizushima plant in Japan in terms of capacity, but is the group's top performer in terms of production utilisation.

Last year, Mitsubishi invested Bt16 billion to establish its third production plant in Thailand, the focus of the new facility being to produce small cars under its "Global Small" project, which is also in line with the Thai government's "Eco Car" project. The local company commenced production of the Mitsubishi Mirage at the plant with an initial capacity of 150,000 units annually. The plan is to expand the capacity to 200,000 cars by the end of this year and make Thailand the group's production hub for small cars.

The policy to strengthen R&D in Thailand shows the high level of confidence Mitsubishi has in the local unit and the Thai engineering team, Masuko said. The Thai R&D branch is the group's first R&D operation in Asia, outside Japan.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Suzuki Thailand Capacity Increase

Suzuki Thailand will increase capacity from 60,000 vehicles / year to 100,000 based on a sales forecast of 60,000 vehicles for 2013. So far Suzuki has sold 50,000 Swift in Thailand - a great success for the youngest car company in Thailand.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Thai-EU FTA deal within two years

Via Bangkok Post:

The Thai government delegation ended its visits to Sweden and Belgium with the announcement that the Thai-EU free trade agreement will be concluded in less than two years, as part of Thailand's commitment towards free trade and competitiveness enhancement.

Olarn Chaipravat, an economic adviser to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and chief of the Thailand Trade Representative, will head the Thai negotiating team. Aside from Singapore, which is the first Asean country to reach an agreement with the European Union, followed by Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines are set to start negotiations soon.

The Thai Cabinet on December 4 gave the go-ahead for FTA negotiations, despite public opposition amid fears that alcohol and pharmaceuticals would be included in the deal.

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong said here that to ensure public support, the government had promised not to put economic returns above the expense of human health.

"Most importantly, the government will maintain open access for representatives of the public to voice their concerns before and after each round of negotiation to ensure all sides have the same understanding of the issues involved," he said.

While the FTA will ensure free flow of goods and services, the Thai delegation also wooed foreign investment to Thailand, convinced that the Bt2-trillion infrastructure investment will bolster Thailand's competitiveness.

The first meeting between the Thai-EU trade delegation is scheduled for May in Brussels, with Bangkok hosting the subsequent meeting; there will be at least one meeting each quarter hosted alternately by the two sides. Kittiratt expects the negotiations to take a little more than a year to conclude the trade talks.

Yingluck yesterday had discussions with European Union Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht.

According to Olarn who said he received and reviewed written concerns, the Thai FTA delegation will start off the discussions with Jose Manuel Barroso, president of the EU Commission.

Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom said permanent secretaries of all related ministries will join the negotiating team.

Thailand's exports to the EU will enjoy lower taxes under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) until 2015. If the FTA can be concluded then, there should be no impact on Thailand's export, he said.

Both Thailand and the EU have pushed hard for the bilateral agreement, believed to boost bilateral trade and investment. The Thai-EU Business Council warned recently that Thailand would see its gross domestic product stunted by 1.2 per cent if it does not sign a free-trade agreement (FTA) by 2015 when the European Union's tax breaks expire.

Thailand has bilateral agreements with Australia, India, New Zealand and Peru, while also being a part of the Asean-China FTA. According to the Foreign Trade Department, Thai exports under FTAs were worth US$41.7 billion last year, rising 4.41 per cent from $39.94 billion in 2011.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Indonesia on the road to overtaking Thailand

Attention grabbing headline and interesting story from via The Australian:

THIS year Indonesia could pass Thailand to become the largest vehicle market, by unit sales, in Southeast Asia.

That's no small thing, given Thailand has edged into the world's top 10 vehicle producers and Indonesian output, at the growth rate of the past five years, will get there by 2020.

The potential of this market for Australian components makers was acknowledged, belatedly, when the Federation of Automotive Products Manufacturers sent its first delegation to Jakarta in November.

Industry and Innovation Minister Greg Combet has recently appointed former Ford Indonesia president Will Angove to the new position of automotive supplier advocate with a brief to help auto components suppliers "compete in new markets".

Indonesia also boasts the most active volcanoes in ASEAN
Less innovatively, Mr Combet's headline task for Mr Angove is getting local fleet managers to buy more local vehicles. His focus should be assisting Australian suppliers to escape the orbit of a fading industry that builds 220,000 units annually to engage with the vastly larger and growing Southeast Asian auto sector.

Indonesia and Thailand produced more than a million vehicles for their domestic markets for the first time last year but the Thais are still far ahead in quality, quantity and value to the national economy.

However, Indonesia has the advantage of potentially greater domestic scale, international makers keen to commit, a ready-made export opportunity and -- if planners care to study the Thai industry -- a successful development model.

The Indonesian vehicle sector had a break-out 2012, but Thailand's was astonishing. A supply and demand rebound following the destructive flooding of late 2011, coinciding with a rare lengthy stretch of political stability, and especially a government rebate to first buyers lifted domestic sales 81 per cent to 1.44 million.

Because of hot domestic demand, exports at almost one million units undershot projections, but overall Thai production rose 68 per cent to 2.45 million vehicles.

Although about half the vehicles ordered under the rebate scheme are being delivered in the first half of this year, and exports should firm, analysts expect domestic sales to fall this year to 1.2 million.

Almost 1.12 million new vehicles came on to the Indonesian market last year, which grew 25 per cent, and more than 250,000 units were exported.

Export volumes were up 40 per cent last year, driven by other developing markets' interest in the low-cost "mini-MPV", the trademark Indonesian vehicle.

GM is returning to Indonesian manufacturing, after an eight-year break, with a Chevrolet mini-MPV, manufactured in Brazil but designed, the company says, for Indonesian conditions.

With a base market of about 50 million discretionary spenders expected to double inside the next decade, Indonesia has domestic scale to underpin high volume vehicle exports.

The government is trying to accentuate the potential through the so-called Low Cost Green Cars program, which would remove or partly rebate the luxury tax applying to all new private vehicles.

The scheme was announced last year with four Japanese carmakers -- Toyota (which has 36 per cent of the domestic market), Daihatsu, Suzuki and Honda -- immediately committing.

Nissan has since said it would revive the Datsun brand to build low-cost green vehicles for Indonesia, India and Russia. But 12 months after Industry Minister MS Hidayat unveiled the LCGC plan, and almost three months after it was planned to come into effect, the government hasn't settled the parameters: what levels of tax relief, what minimum fuel efficiency, what qualifying price range.

Indonesia is becoming an important car market. But, then again, Brazil and Mexico already are; it's almost an automatic function of demographics and development.

Whether Indonesia also becomes a significant component of the global manufacturing chain depends to an important extent on carefully focused planning, regulation and incentives.

That is where Bangkok's industrial policymakers have proved adept and where Jakarta's are notoriously deficient.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

The planned expansion of the 110-kilometre road motorway linking Thailand to the proposed Dawei deep-sea port project in Myanmar has been postponed.

The Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning (OTTPP) said expanding the motorway from four lanes to eight on the Thai side of the border is unnecessary for the time being.

Friday, 22 February 2013

General Motors Indonesia's new Spin

General Motors Indonesia has completed its US$150m refurbishment of its car plant in Bekasi, a satellite city east of the country’s capital Jakarta.

The plant, with a 550-strong workforce, is set to begin commercial production of the Spin seven-seater compact MPV for sale locally and for export to other markets in the ASEAN region. A further 250 workers will be added by year-end.

The Spin is based on the similarly-named model produced by GM in Brazil but will get a smaller 1.5-litre engine instead of the 1.8 engine fitted to the Brazilian model. It will also have locally-made components, including some trim parts.

The plant will have the capacity to produce 40,000 vehicles a year once a second shift is introduced. The company expects sales to increase significantly in Indonesia with the new model from last year’s 5,643 units.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Thai Car Exports up in January

Bangkok Post reports:

A total of 86,697 vehicles were exported in January, up 61.78% on January 2012, and an increase of 0.46% on December 2012, Surapong Paisitpatanapong, spokesman for the Automotive Industry Club, said on Thursday.

The export value for the month stood at 39.48 billion baht, up 58.86% on January 2012, said Mr Surapong.

Domestic car sales over the month totalled 125,817 units, an increase of 63.36% on January 2012, but down 13.04% on December 2012.

Car output in January stood at 236,025 units, up 67.95% on January 2012, and an increase of 6.63% on December 2012.

Mr Surapong projected car output from February to April would stand at 664,756 units, down 6.89% on the 713,959 units actual output from November 2012 to January 2013, but up 31.89% on 504,006 units actual output from February-April 2012.

Vehicle output for 2013 is projected at 2.55 million units, up 3.92% year-on-year, he said.

Of this total, 1.1 million vehicles, or 43.14%, would be for export and the remainder 1.45 million, or 56.85%, would be for domestic sale.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Chevrolet Thailand Sales January 2013

Chevrolet sells 6,039 vehicles in Thailand in January 2013, 59% more compared to the same month in 2012.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Honda Thailand to build new plant in Prachinburi

Via Bangkok Post:

Honda Automobile (Thailand) will invest more than 20 billion baht to build a new assembly plant and expand its existing facility to tap strong domestic demand and exports.

About 17.2 billion baht will be used to build the assembly and engine plant in Prachin Buri province.

The factory, to be located in Rojana Industrial Park, will have an annual production capacity of 120,000 cars. Construction will start in July, with operations due to launch in 2015.

Company president Hiroshi Kobayashi said the factory will produce mainly small and subcompact vehicles in response to growing global demand.

"Honda plans to make the new assembly plant the company's most advanced manufacturing facility in Asia and Oceania," he said.

"It will follow the advanced manufacturing innovations now being introduced at Honda's new Yorii assembly plant in Japan. They include shorter and greener production processes for welding, painting and assembling automobiles that offer the highest levels of efficiency."

The new plant will also mark the next level of advancement with reduced carbon dioxide emissions and the use of recycled water in all production processes, he said.

"As we envision continuous growth of the subcompact car market in Thailand and more exports to countries in Asean, Oceania, the Middle East, Africa, the Caribbean and other countries, Honda will increase its production capacity while also enhancing its product line-up," said Mr Kobayashi.

The new factory will initially employ about 2,500 workers.

The Thai unit of Japan's third-largest car maker will also spend 2.03 billion baht to increase its Ayutthaya plant's annual production capacity to 300,000 units by early next year.

Honda recently spent 880 million baht in the first phase of the plant's expansion.

Its annual production capacity had increased to 280,000 units as of the end of last month from 240,000 before.

The second phase of the expansion will start in April.

The Ayutthaya plant's expansion, combined with the capacity of the new Prachin Buri plant, will increase Honda's annual production capacity in Thailand to 420,000 vehicles in 2015.

Pitak Pruittisarikorn, an executive vice-president, said Honda will launch at least 10 models this year, equal to last year.

Honda has set a sales target for Thailand this year of 200,000 vehicles, up by 16.8% from 171,208 last year.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Office cost in Asia

Bangkok is the lowest cost option for setting up offices in Asia Pacific…

Thursday, 31 January 2013

Nissan reaches 2-million-vehicle milestone

Via Bangkok Post:

Japanese auto-maker Nissan recently celebrated cumulative production of 2 million vehicles in Thailand at its plant in Samut Prakarn.

The new milestone was achieved in January.

"Thanks to the growing demand from satisfied customers, Nissan Motor Thailand has reached a new milestone," said NMT president Takayuki Kimura. "Business in Thailand has been growing at a steady yet astonishing pace - especially last year - making it the best year for the automotive industry. Nissan is one of the key brands contributing to this success. In reaching this milestone it truly shows the great results we have achieved.

"Making a further commitment to Thailand, Nissan announced last year that it's investing Bt11 billion more for our second plant on Bang Na Trad Road, Km 22, Samut Prakarn. It will initially produce 75,000 vehicles per year starting in August 2014, and this number will increase to 150,000 per year after full production is achieved," he said.

Nissan presently has a combined production capacity of 220,000 vehicles per year, he said. "But within a few years we plan to raise our capacity to 370,000 vehicles per year, thanks to the second plant."

Nissan has been producing vehicles since 1963 and presently offers seven key models. The auto-maker is the best-selling brand in the Thai eco-car segment with two models, the March and the Almera.

Challenges ahead for AAF's Thai chief

Via Bangkok Post:

Nissan Motor Thailand vice president for government relations Piengjai Kaewsuwan was unanimously elected new chairperson of the Asean Automotive Federation (AAF) for 2013-2014 at the AAF annual meeting on January 11 in Bangkok.

This is great news for Thailand, especially with the coming of the Asean Economic Community (AEC). It is expected that Thailand's strengths in the automotive industry will enable it to strengthen its leadership in Southeast Asia.

Last year, Thailand produced more than 2 million vehicles, with domestic sales reaching a record 1.4 million, thanks to the government's First Car Buyer Programme.

Apart from her position at Nissan, Piengjai is also president of the Thai Automobile Industry Association (TAIA). She had recently been elected president of the TAIA for a second term.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Mazda will set up a new Powertrain Manufacturing facility in Thailand

Mazda will set up a new Powertrain Manufacturing facility in Thailand to produce and sell SkyActiv transmissions for Mazda vehicles with a capacity of 400,000 units/year. SOP will be second half of 2015.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Exports gearing up for 25% increase to $15bn this year

Via Bangkok Post

Auto parts shipments are expected to grow by at least 25% this year in line with the flourishing automotive industry.

The Thai Autoparts Manufacturers Association (Tapma) expects exports will total US$15 billion this year, up from $11-12 billion last year. "Prospects remain promising on the back of surging automobile and motorcycle production," said president Achana Limpaitoon.

Thailand's automotive industry enjoyed a bumper year in 2012, with vehicle production totalling 2.45 million units, up by 68.3% from 2011 and lifting Thailand to 10th place among global automobile producers.

Motorcycle production reached 3.14 million units, up by 6.57%.

The Federation of Thai Industries' automotive industry club said domestic automobile sales totalled 1.43 million vehicles last year, up by 80.9% from 2011, while motorcycle sales rose by 6.11% to 2.13 million.

This year, 2.5 million automobiles will be produced, up by 2%, with 1.4 million slated for domestic sales and 1.1 million for export.

Tapma said exports account for 48% of Thailand's auto parts industry.

Some 80% of export value stems from original-equipment manufacturing and the rest from the auto parts aftermarket.

Thailand is currently the top Asean auto parts exporter, mainly to Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam and Brazil.

"Thai auto parts makers have more than 50 years' experience, but the mantle could shift to Indonesia once its automotive industry becomes fully developed," said Mrs Achana.

She recommends auto parts makers brace themselves for higher production costs induced mainly by the nationwide hike in the daily minimum wage to 300 baht at the start of the year.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Honda retains No 1 position in Dec car sales

Via Bangkok Post:

Japanese auto-maker Honda announced that it sold 20,463 passenger cars in December last year, achieving the No 1 sales position in the Thai car market for three consecutive months - from October to December 2012.
Honda's accumulated sales from January through December 2012 reached 171,208 vehicles, up 104 per cent over its 2011 sales figures. This is the highest sales in the company's history here - compared to the previous annual sales record of 114,056 vehicles achieved in 2010 - despite the fact that Honda managed full production for only nine months of 2012.

During the nine months after officially resuming full production at its Ayutthaya manufacturing plant (April to December), Honda reached a sales high of 168,473 vehicles. Sales grew at 213 per cent, or triple the sales figure in the same period in 2011 (53,871 vehicles) and twice the total overall market growth of 106 per cent. Honda enjoyed a market share of 30 per cent in the car segment during the same period.

The auto-maker's significant sales growth can be attributed to the launch of 10 new models, six of which qualified for the government's first-car tax rebate programme, resulting in the higher turnover, according to Honda Automobile (Thailand) executive vice president Pitak Pruittisarikorn.

The new Brio Amaze, which was recently launched, has received very positive customer feedback, generating orders for more than 20,000 of the eco-cars within five weeks of it being launched, he said.

"Last year was an important year and it was very meaningful for Honda. We had faced a flood crisis that obliged us to stop our production lines for more than five months. However, we were able to recover and resumed production in just three months. Since then, we moved aggressively in the market with a continuous delivery of new models to meet the demands of customers that have confidence in Honda and waited for our return. This was especially true for the Brio Amaze, with tremendous effort and hard work by everybody in all our departments to expedite its market debut five months ahead of schedule to meet the demands of customers who wanted to benefit from the Thai government's first-car tax rebate programme," he said. "The result of all this effort was Honda's continual sales growth, setting a record for the highest turnover and putting Honda in the No 1 sales position in Thailand's passenger car market segment during the last quarter of 2012. Last year was the year that Honda turned a crisis into an effort to struggle with an obstacle and return stronger."

"As for the market trend of 2013, the first half is the time to deliver cars to customers who placed orders before the Thai government's first-car tax rebate program ended in December 2012. The demand for models that were formerly under the first-car program may slow down, but demand for models in other segments will keep on growing, resulting from the launch of many new models by several carmakers. Also, with consumer confidence in the country's economic potential, Honda believes that the sales volume for Thailand 's overall car market in 2013 should be equal to or slightly lower than the 2012 record. Overall turnover is expected to be about 1.2 million units. Honda plans to continuously launch new models to meet all customer lifestyles and has set a sales target of over 200,000 units for 2013," he said.

"In addition, we will be focused on improving service quality to ensure the highest customer satisfaction. Honda currently has 166 service centers nationwide, which is expected to grow to 200 centers by late 2013. Honda remains committed to carrying on with our corporate social responsibility activities as the "Honda Thailand Fund" (or Honda Khiang Khang Thai Fund) that is poised to give a helping hand when major disasters take place. We strive to create value and be a company that society wants to exist," concluded Pitak.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

New Toyota plant to open this year

Via Bangkok Post:

Toyota, Thailand's biggest car maker, plans to invest 12 billion baht in a new factory at Gateway 2 in Chachoengsao, touting a new eco-car as the first model.

Domestic demand for new cars will moderate as the government’s first-time buyer scheme ends, according to Mr Tanada. SOMCHAI POOMLARD

The plant will be fully operational by the third quarter of 2013 and have an annual capacity of 300,000 units a year, said Kyoichi Tanada, president of Toyota Motor Thailand.

The new factory is an expansion of Toyota's existing plant at Gateway.

According to Mr Tanada, Toyota's first facility in Thailand at Samrong in Samut Prakan recently kicked off assembly of the Hiace Commuter High-Roof van, after a capital investment of 1.5 billion baht.

The output handled by Toyota Auto Works Co, formerly known as Thai Auto Works, will substitute imports. With 300 employees and one shift a day initially, production capacity will be increased by two shifts to 18,000 annually by midyear.

Toyota runs three plants in Thailand.

The Samrong facility makes Hilux Vigo pickup trucks, with a capacity of 240,000 units a year.

Gateway in Chachoengsao, Toyota's second plant, makes all passenger car models, with a capacity of 230,000 units a year.

The third factory, in Chachoengsao's Ban Pho district, makes Vigo and Fortuner passenger pickups, with a capacity of 230,000 units a year.

Toyota Motor Thailand expects sales of 900,000 units this year _ 500,000 locally and 400,000 for export.

In 2012, the company sold 516,086 vehicles in the domestic market, a 78% rise from 2011. Export sales totalled 405,892 vehicles, up nearly 62%, boosted by the tax rebate for first-time buyers.

The company aims to expand showrooms and service centres this year from 357 locations now to 400, with Toyota Sure showrooms rising from 85 to 100.


Friday, 25 January 2013

Thailand's 2013 auto sales may fall 16%...

RIDE ASIAONE translates a press release...

BANGKOK - Thai automotive industry sales look set to drop 16 per cent in 2013, retreating from a record 2012 boosted by government subsidies, Toyota Motor Corp's Thai unit said on Monday.

The group said it expected sales to decline to 1.2 million vehicles this year, after an 80 per cent surge in 2012 fuelled by government subsidies for buyers of first cars.

Industry sales had jumped to a record 1.43 million vehicles in 2012, also boosted by pent-up demand after severe flooding in late 2011, Kyoichi Tanada, president of the Toyota Motor Thai unit, told a news conference.

"Thai auto sales this year will not fall much from last year. We think the economy will still be good, but there is no first-car scheme this year," he said.

For Toyota itself, 2013 sales are set to fall 3.1 per cent to 500,000 units, giving it a 40 per cent market share, with sales of passenger cars down 11 per cent. It aims for exports of 412,000 vehicles worth 168 billion baht this year, plus 70 billion baht of auto parts.

In 2012, its auto sales jumped 78 per cent to 516,086 vehicles, with passenger cars up 62.8 per cent.

Toyota plans to invest 12 billion baht (S$495 million) in the southeast Asian country to build a second plant at the Gateway industrial park to produce environmentally friendly cars as well as vehicles for export, Tanada said.

The plant is expected to be completed in the middle of this year, which will help boost the firm's capacity at Gateway to 300,000 units per year from 220,000.

Toyota Thailand capacity increases to more than 1 Million units per year

Toyota Thailand will invest 12 billion baht in a new factory at Gateway 2 in Chachoengsao, with a new eco-car as the first model.

According to Kyoichi Tanada, president of Toyota Thailand, the plant will be fully operational by the third quarter of 2013 and have an annual capacity of 300,000 units which will bring Toyota Thailand's total capacity to over one million vehicles per year!

Friday, 18 January 2013

Bridgestone sets up R&D Centre in Bangkok

Bridgestone, yesterday announced plans to establish a new technical centre in Thailand costing 1.24 billion baht.

Located in the Bangkok suburbs, business operations are scheduled to begin in July.

The new centre is estimated to employ 100 staff by 2015.

It will carry out the functions of tyre development, tyre production technology and quality management for Asia-Pacific, previously handled in Japan.

With this shift, Bridgestone intends to establish a framework for research and development that will be able to reflect timely information from markets.

As markets in Asia continue to grow and diversify rapidly, Bridgestone believes strengthening its technical support will enable it to respond to customers' needs more quickly by raising its levels of safety, environmental awareness, quality and delivery capabilities.

Via Bangkok Post

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Chevrolet, part of US-based General Motors (GM), ended 2012 with record-breaking sales growth of 139% over 2011, thanks to the government's first-time car buyer scheme and strong post-flood demand.

The first-time car buyer scheme and strong post-flood demand carried Chevrolet to 139% sales growth in 2012, says Mr Apfel.

Some 75,461 Chevrolet cars were sold last year, higher than the combined 66,733 units sold from 2009 through 2011.

"2012 was a very good year for us as we launched three new models, expanded our dealership and surpassed our sales from 2009 to 2011," said Martin Apfel, president of GM's Southeast Asia operations.

The industry expanded 80% in 2012 to sell 1.4 million vehicles, of which Chevrolet gained a market share of 5.3%, up by 1.3% the year before. Mr Apfel cited the first-time car buyer scheme for helping to increase vehicle sales, while demand carried over from 2011.

Industry growth for 2013 is expected to be lower at 1.2 million units to be sold. Chevrolet targets a 3% rise to top 100,000 units, he said.

"We will not grow much as an industry [this year]. Exports should still exceed domestic sales," noted Mr Apfel, adding that competition will also intensify for products and services, but not prices.

The company will invest 1.5 billion baht to expand its dealer network to 120 by year-end from 93 in 2012.

To meet with increasing demand, Chevrolet has added more production shifts. It expects to hire 400 more staff this year, bringing total headcount to 6,000.

Mr Apfel said partnerships with technical colleges will be strengthened to provide a feeder pool of technicians to its dealers, currently facing a shortage.

Chevrolet will focus mainly on pickup truck and small car segments this year.

Pickup trucks, which accounted for 40-45% of Chevrolet's sales, are expected to post the strongest growth this year. The Colorado was the most popular non-Japanese one-tonne pickup truck last year, with sales of 37,310 vehicles or 295.5% higher than 2011.

While the daily minimum wage has increased, Mr Apfel said auto parts and energy make up a much larger share of production cost. The precise impacts of the wage hike on the industry will be known after a few months, he said.

GM sales in Asean grew 108% to 91,715 units last year, with high demand in Indonesia, Malaysia and Laos.

The company projects its manufacturing facility in Indonesia will reach full production in the first half of this year. Also, it will expand dealerships in Cambodia and see its first car sale in Myanmar this year.

Via Bangkok Post

2013 new cars

Take a look at up-coming cars of 2013: from below 1 million-baht to above 10-million-baht ranges.

Check out the full range at Bangkok Post

Mazda wants to sell 80,000 units in 2013

The Thai unit of Japan's Mazda Motor expects to lift sales by another 10% this year after posting record sales of 73,764 units in 2012, helped by the government's first-time car buyer scheme.

New models and limited editions will be launched each quarter, says Mr Yuki.

Choichi Yuki, managing director of Mazda Sales (Thailand), said the company is aiming for total sales of 80,000 units this year.

"The company saw an excellent performance in 2012, increasing 76% from 41,980 units the year before. The Thai automobile market, meanwhile, was able to achieve record sales of almost 1.42 million units, equivalent to a growth of 79%," he said.

"The growth does not stop there. This will be a year of intense competition and auto sales are expected to exceed the 1-million-unit mark for the second time with a total of 1.2-1.3 million units."

The 2013 company sales target will be made up of 60% passenger cars and 40% pick-up trucks, which is a highly challenging market for all carmakers in Thailand and domestic demand may not grow.

However, Mazda plans to raise its market share to 6-7% this year from 5.2% in 2012, he added.

Moreover, the company will introduce an additional 20 showrooms and service centres nationwide. This will give a total of 165 showrooms compared to 145 last year.

"We are planning to launch new models including limited editions in every quarter of 2013, supported by design and technology such as the Mazda 3 S Plus, which was introduced at the Motor Expo 2012, and the Mazda 2 Special. The new fuel-saving technology, SkyActiv, will be launched this year," said Mr Yuki.

Marketing director Sureethip La-Ongthong Chomthongdee said Mazda has backlog orders of around 21,500 units from 2012 to be delivered within a couple of months. But the Mazda 2, the top passenger car model, may take more than three months to be delivered.

However, the company has already increased the production at its Rayong factory to the maximum level of 4,500 passenger cars and 2,700 pick-ups to meet orders.

"After we have cleared all back orders, the demand for passenger cars may slow in the second half. The pick-up truck market will see stronger competition among automakers than last year, but every market segment will return to normal," she said.

Mazda will spend 600-700 million baht on marketing activities this year, especially for advertisements touting major sales promotion campaigns such as its free maintenance programme for two years.

Via Bangkok Post

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

INDONESIA: Vehicle sales rise 25% in 2012

New vehicle sales in Indonesia increased by 11.4% to 89,456 units in December, from 80,325 units a year earlier, according to data released by local industry association Gaikindo.

Full year sales rose by almost 25% to a new record of 1,116,230 units, from 894,164 units in 2011, with increased borrowing and strong domestic economic growth driving sales ever higher.

Interest rates are at record lows at present, with the Bank Indonesia overnight lending rate at 5.75% and with commercial banks offering further discounted rates.

Via JustAuto

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Malaysia: Toyota set to overtake Proton

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 11 — At its peak, four of every five cars sold in Malaysia was a Proton, but the carmaker is now in danger of slipping into third spot in sales behind Toyota and Perodua, the second national car company that has ruled the roost for over six years.
Industry sources told The Edge newspaper in an article published today that Proton saw its market share slip in December 2012 to just 17.7 per cent, with Toyota now a close third at 17.1 per cent share of passenger vehicle sales in the country.

“Perodua (Perusahaan Otomobil Kedua Sdn Bhd) is the runway market leader while Proton over the last few years has been a strong second. Now Toyota is closing in on Proton’s position,” an unnamed executive told the financial daily.

Proton is controlled by Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary’s DRB-Hicom.

Industry executives told the financial daily that Proton’s sales fell by over 11 per cent to 140,000 units from 158,000 units a year earlier, missing the company’s target of 200,000 units by a wide margin.

Proton was established by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in 1983 and became a poster child of the former prime minister’s industrialisation policies.

Dr Mahathir had made it patriotic to buy a Proton, but the company has seen its sales slump in the last decade due to increasing liberalisation of the Malaysian market.

In the early days, Protons were rebadged models from technical partner Mitsubishi’s older range, which provided a solid foundation for the fledgling automaker but also limited its ability to innovate.

It later succeeded in developing its own vehicle platforms independent of the Japanese carmaker but has since gone back to the practice of rebadging with the Inspira, which is based on the Mitsubishi Lancer.

Malaysians were also unhappy with being able to afford only Protons as a result of protectionist taxes and duties meant to shield the carmaker in its early years but later became indefinite.

The backlash following the relaxation of vehicle import and local assembly rules saw buyers abandon the local manufacturer for the increasingly abundant range of foreign makes.

According to The Edge, Proton’s lack of new models bar one for 2013 will also put it under added pressure this year, given the growingly competitive market.

Via Malaysia Insider

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Honda, 10 other companies get post-flood financial support

Via the NATION:

Honda Automobile (Thailand) is one of 11 companies that have won financial support from the government's post-flood investment rehabilitation fund.

Honda, which shut down its manufacturing plant in Ayutthaya for six months, won Bt2.5 billion in support for its engine-manufacturing project with capacity of 440,000 units a year. At the site, Honda churns out 240,000 vehicles per annum.

According to Industry Minister Prasert Boonchaisuk, the sub-committee tasked with rehabilitation investment has approved 32 flood-rehabilitation projects in Ayutthaya and Pathum Thani worth Bt27.96 billion. It has also approved financial support to seven new investment projects worth Bt3.5 billion.

The financial support has covered only one relocation of a manufacturing plant: that of TAC Consumer, which is investing Bt6.85 million to produce 2,250 tonnes of feed meal per annum.

The other beneficiaries are: Imasen Manufacturing (Thailand), which will maintain its factory in Ayutthaya to manufacture parts and accessories for car seats at a cost of Bt420.2 billion, and with capacity to produce about 12.9 million units per year; Dionys Hofmann (Thailand), which will invest Bt27.8 million in rehabilitating its factory for manufacturing wheel-balancing equipment in Ayutthaya with annual capacity to produce 25 million units per year; AAPICO Hitech Tooling, which will rehabilitate its molding and parts factory in Ayutthaya at a cost of Bt209.3 million, and to have annual capacity of about 550 million tonnes; Honda Automobile (Thailand), which will maintain its factory for plastic automobile parts in Ayutthaya, at a cost of Bt202.6 million with capacity of 444,000 units per year; AAPICO Hitech Parts, which will invest Bt199.6 million in maintaining its factory for auto-pump parts and hard-disk drives in Ayutthaya with annual capacity of 80 million pieces; Tohoku Pioneer (Thailand), which will invest Bt60 million to maintain its molding and parts factory in Ayutthaya with 6,100 units in annual capacity; and Summit Auto Body Industry which will maintain its metal door and window frame factory in Ayutthaya at a cost of Bt27.6 million and with annual capacity of about 600,000 sets.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

THE NATION: Optimistic carmakers look to exports for another good year

The outlook for the Thai auto industry in 2013 remains bright, partially propelled by the demand from export markets.

Last year the industry attracted more than Bt100 billion in terms of additional investment from auto and auto-parts makers. Sales surged by 70 per cent to achieve a record 1.4 million vehicles, thanks to demand carried over from flood-stricken 2011 and the first-car-buyer programme. More than a million people received excise tax rebates a year after making their purchase.

This year's auto production is targeted at 2.5 million units, said Suparat Sirisuwannangkura, chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI)'s Automotive Industry Club (AIC), with about 1.3-1.4 million for the domestic market.

"The reason sales will remain at the same level as 2012 is because there is a large amount of back orders carried over from 2012 - as many as 500,000 vehicles covering the third quarter of 2013. However, we also predict that as much as 30 per cent of the orders from the first-car-buyer scheme may disappear because some applicants may not pass the requirements and some may not have true purchasing power," Suparat said.

In this regard, the export market is expected to support the industry.

"Don't forget that in 2012 we held back exports to supply the domestic market. So it should not be difficult to achieve 2.5-million-unit production while also maintaining the export market," he said.

Check out the full report here.