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Thai car production hits 30 year low

Jack Burton

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PHOTO: Nikkei Asian Review

As late as last year, the automotive industry in Thailand was the largest in Southeast Asia and the twelfth largest in the world, with an annual output of around 2 million vehicles. But in April this year, Thailand’s car production hit its lowest level in 30 years – just 24,711 units – amid weak global demand, factory shutdowns and widespread layoffs. The industry may not even reach the 1 million unit threshold this year, a 50% decrease from 2019, according to the Federation of Thai Industries.

A spokesman for the FTI’s Automotive Club says if the pandemic is not ‘controlled’ by June, the industry could suffer far longer as the global economy and purchasing power continue to sag.

In February, General Motors announced that it was pulling out of Thailand, ceasing manufacture of its Chevrolet brand here and selling its plant in Rayong province to China’s Great Wall Motors. Toyota, Honda, Mitsubishi, Ford and Mazda shut down production lines from March to April because of falling car sales and the government policy to let employees work from home due to the Covid-19 crisis.

From January to April, the industry produced 267,617 total units, a 29.4% decrease year-on-year. April’s 24,711 units was a decrease of 83.6% year-on-year and dip of 83.2% from March. The sector produced 13,713 vehicles for export, an 81.8% year-on-year decrease.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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