Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Automotive sector to drive Malaysia's competitiveness


VIA BUSINESS TIMES:

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

Via THE NATION:


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


Via THE NATION:

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

Via THE STAR:


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