Increased Car Exports May Accelerate Thailand’s Sluggish Economy


After being under pressure due to a struggling economy, aiming to recover after a year and half of military rule and lower domestic demand, automobiles exports from Thailand are slated to hit a high this year.

The government hopes that the stronger momentum in this sector, which accounts for roughly 10 percent of the country’s GDP and employs around the same percent of workers in manufacturing, shall uplift the growth of the economy from 0.9 percent in the previous year. Thailand’s largest export category- accessories, parts and cars increased by an annual amount of 3.9 percent in the first ten months of this year, as shown by the Commerce Ministry. However, total exports in this period contracted by 5.3 percent in the same period.

Noriaki Abe, the CEO and President of Asian Honda Motor Co, the Bangkok wing of the Japanese automaker has commented that the export business shall gain importance for Thailand given the economic situation of the country. The measures of free trade create added opportunity to do so. The demand for pickup trucks in Asia and their increased popularity in Australia, launching of affordable and new car models have aided Thai car exports.

Thailand has been dubbed as the Detroit of South East Asia and is a regional base for some of the top car makers of the world, Honda Motor Co and Toyota Motor Co.

The Federation of Thai Industries have stated that it expects exports of fully built units to increase by 6.4 percent to 1.2 million the current year and 1.22 million the coming year. Toyota targets sales of 3.9 lakh cars as exports and 2.65 lakh for domestic sales. Isuzu has stated that its exports must reach around 1.02 lakh, from 88,000 the previous year.

Panatda Chennavasin, the SVP of Tri Petch Isuzu Sales has stated that their exports are improving every day.

Honda has exceeded its exports of 52,565 cars and intends to export 72,700 cars in 2015, according to Pitak Pruittisarikom, the CEO of Honda Automobile Thailand.

Barnabas Gan, an economist with the OCBC Bank in Singapore has said that a favorable external environment should work for Thailand in 2016, particularly because greenshoot recovery is observed from strong automobiles exports in the year.

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