Thailand targets being top auto parts manufacturer in Southeast Asia

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BANGKOK, April 17 – Auto parts manufacturing, declining 20-30 per cent since mid-last year, is possibly on the downward trend this year, according to the Thai Subcontracting Promotion Association (Thai Subcon).

Thai Subcon President Somkiat Chupukcharoen said the negative prospect was due to the termination of the government’s policy which granted tax rebates to first-car buyers.

He said auto parts manufacturers were advised to adopt new technology to cut production cost and improve quality, indicating that Thailand’s manufacturing technology is 10 years behind Japan.

The massive 2011 floods and prolonged political crisis have impacted the auto parts manufacturing industry which needs to speed up and develop in light of the launch of ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) next year.

After the AEC is in force, the auto parts market will expand tenfold, he said, boosting the domestic subcontracting industry given close cooperation between the public and private sectors, he said.

In addition to higher demand in the AEC market, the subcontracting industry will be further fuelled by the second-phase eco-car project which involves 10 leading manufacturers with a total investment of at least Bt139 billion, said Mr Somkiat.

By that time, he said, Thailand’s auto manufacturing capability will be increased by 1,581,000 units from the present production at 2.4-2.5 million units each year.

He said the Thai Subcon looks forward to Thailand becoming the top auto parts manufacturer in Southeast Asia.