Japanese suppliers build new plants and enhance R&D in Thailand
Akebono Brake, H-One, Keihin, JTEKT, TS Tech, Denso, NHK Spring, Yutaka Giken, and Yorozu lead the g
Below is a summary of new production bases being constructed, new development facilities being installed and production capacities being increased by Japanese auto parts manufacturers operating in Thailand (based on information gathered during ten months through mid-March 2013).
Automobile production in Thailand recovered rapidly to a record high level from 1,458,000 units in 2011, the year of devastating floods (down 11.4% from 2010), to 2,454,000 units in 2012 (up 68.4% year on year). The local auto industry registered all-time high records also in domestic sales at 1,415,000 units (up 82.1%) and export at 1,027,000 units (up 39.6%). The industry is also enjoying brisk sales in January to February 2013 at 256,000 units (provisional figures, up 51.9%) partly affected by the lingering increase of demands from the recovery of the damages caused by the floods in the previous year.
Japanese automakers consider Thailand as an important base. They enhance their production capacities and model lineup there. For instance, Toyota announced plans to increase its capacity from 670,000 units in 2012 to 760,000 units, when production of the Thai version of eco-cars starts at the second Gateway Plant in mid-2013 and further to the 1 million units level in the near future (announced in November 2012). Honda will increase its annual capacity from 240,000 units in 2012 to approximately 290,000 units in FY2013, and build a new plant that will start production in 2015 and turn Thailand into its export base. Nissan has plans to increase its capacity from 220,000 units in 2012 to 370,000 units after its new plant starts operation in 2014 with an initial capacity of 75,000 units and maximum capacity of 150,000 units. Suzuki began production and sales of the Swift in 2012 and plans to launch the Ertiga MPV in 2013. The company will produce and sell 70,000 units of the two models combined.
These forward-looking plans among Japanese automakers are attracting Japanese auto parts manufacturers to set footprints in Thailand, to increase existing production capacities and to add new items to their production list. New entries in Thailand are found not only among Tier 1 suppliers but also among Tier 2 suppliers that are obliged to find new customers and meet local procurement needs. Plans to increase production capacity and adding products are found especially among those supplying components to local customers and also among those in need to strengthen export bases for markets in Asia and other areas (these companies include Kinugawa Rubber Industrial, Suncall, Nichidai and Keihin).Some companies are planning to build new plants in less flood-vulnerable locations (Kasai Kogyo, TS Tech, Hitachi Chemical, Marujun, etc.), some are building or strengthening R&D facilities (Bridgestone, Piolax, Denso, JATCO, etc.) and some are establishing regional headquarters in Thailand (TS Tech, Sanoh Industrial, Yorozu, etc.).
Similar moves among Japanese auto parts suppliers in ASEAN countries other than Thailand are introduced in the following report "Japanese auto parts manufacturers in ASEAN countries: Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, etc." posted in February 2013.
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