Thailand believes that it will maintain its status as a major car production base – and primary ASEAN production hub – in the post-Covid-19 period, despite the pandemic having affected the auto industry, as it has many others. The belief has been bolstered by Nissan’s relocation of its production from Indonesia, resulting in Thailand being the company’s sole production base in Southeast Asia.
In March, the Japanese automaker had announced that it was ending vehicle manufacturing in Indonesia with the closure of its second assembly plant in the country. The automaker originally had two plants in the republic, but closed the first – which produced Nissan-badged cars – in September last year.
According to the country’s industry minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit, the Japanese automaker is “confident” in Thailand, where it plans to continue its business. He said this was intimated during his recent talk with Nissan Thailand president Ramesh Narasimhan, the Bangkok Post reports.
Suriya said that Nissan is determined to produce both electric and hybrid cars in the long term, and
this will be good for employment. Citing an example, he said that the Kicks e-Power hybrid – which made its global debut in May – would be built in Thailand for export to many countries, including Japan.
He added that despite the adverse impact brought about by the pandemic, Thailand would continue to position itself as the car production base for many companies in the ASEAN region.
Thailand and Indonesia have long been battling it out for supremacy in the region. It has been close in terms of domestic sales, but Thailand has been well ahead in terms of production, with almost half of the cars produced in Thailand being exported. Despite the pandemic, the Kingdom remains the region’s No 1 in terms of production, as results from the first five months of the year show.
According to the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI), domestic car production will be between 1.3 million and 1.4 million units this year, down from the 1.9 million forecast before the pandemic began.