BANGKOK, Sept 24 – The Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) Automotive Industry Club spokesman said he expected Thailand could reach production capacity of as many as 2.3 million cars this year.
Spokesman Surapong Paisitpattanapong said the government’s ‘first car scheme’ and the country’s rehabilitation after last year’s flood have resulted in the expanded car production.
The first eight months saw vehicle manufacturing grow by 30 per cent with more than 100,000 units sold domestically every month on average.
The new target figure of 2.3 million units has increased from the recent previous auto production goal of 2.2 million, while car sales volume in the country is expected to rise to 200,000 units per month.
According to Mr Surapong, car exports have expanded 46 per cent, including Asia, the Middle East and Oceania, although exports to Europe have fallen, and are at minus 18 per cent.
The higher production trend was also partly due to eco-cars sales benefitting from the government’s promotion on tax measures under the ‘first car’ scheme.
Such sales have increased and count for 14 per cent of all car sales in the country.
The higher domestic demand has resulted in higher domestic car production of 60 per cent, while export volume decreased to 40 per cent.
Mr Surapong said car brands will start to hand over new cars to buyers in the first six months of next year, thus car production in 2013 will continue to grow with the forecast volume at 2.4 million units, of which 1.5 million are for domestic car sales, and the remaining 900,000 for export.
The growing auto industry has carried Thailand to the highest market share of all ASEAN markets, some 54 per cent of all ASEAN car production.
The Automotive Industry Club spokesman noted the figure could reach 60 per cent if Toyota Motors Thailand is able to release its eco-cars in time for sale this year.