AFG examines the local auto industry

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The dynamic Automotive Focus Group changed the format of its monthly meetings to incorporate a dinner at the Mantra, as well as some foremost and authoritarian speakers.

With a Mantra full house of 32 members in attendance, the evening was sponsored by CominAsia and EMAG, while the logistics, food and organization were handled very efficiently by the Mantra staff.

The format for the meeting came from suggestions from the members themselves, who expressed an interest in extended Q&A sessions with top and informed speakers, and that is exactly what they got.

AFG members enjoyed their Mantra dinner.AFG members enjoyed their Mantra dinner.

John Welby of DHL spoke about the recent developments in the Auto Industry in Thailand, the strategic geographical location of South East Asia where Thailand serves as the base for Auto Industry in the region.

Mention was made of the reduction in sales in the last few months of the current year, reflecting the Thai economic figures in which there has been a small negative growth during each of the past two quarters.  This led to discussion on the pros and cons of Thailand industry and interestingly suggestions for improving packaging and logistics costs.

David Chuter of Futuris spoke about the background of the Thai auto industry, plus recent trends and what we could extrapolate from these into the future.  Thailand successfully attracted large investments from across the globe using unique promotion schemes developed strategically by BOI.  This has led to a very good infrastructure development and he specifically mentioned Hemaraj Industrial Estates to be very good locations in the Eastern Seaboard area for automotive industry.  Positives included the easy access to the LCB deep-water port.

The world currencies were looked at and discussed with the Thai baht having fluctuated against the USD, AUD and JP Yen and how, even with setbacks it has been stable for the past few years overall in spite of up and down swings in between during this period.

The government’s new car buyer scheme has affected future business and swelled production and sales in late 2012 and early 2013 but this has been creating a void in second half of 2013.

This inaugural dinner meeting was so successful a concept, that the AFG committee is already looking at holding another one.

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