Thailand’s auto exports in May rose 135.25 per cent year-on-year to 75,075 units, and of 31.39 per cent from April, according to the auto industry.
Spokesman for the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) Automotive Industry Club, Surapong Paisitpattanapong, said compared to May last year, the value of exports was around Bt3.2 billion, or a 27.07-per cent increase.
Some 69,245 car units were built for export in May, or 52.39 per cent of the overall production, he said. The percentage for car production grew 129.02 per cent year-on-year, thanks to the economic improvement of all export markets. During the first half of this year, the number of cars produced for export reached 345,465, equalling 55.71 per cent of overall production, an 82.31-per cent increase from the same period in 2009.
Meanwhile, Mr Surapong said the total domestic car sales in May this year increased 53.4 per cent year-on-year and 8.89 per cent from April, while the number of cars ordered rose to 62,205 orders.
Thailand’s exports soared 42.1 per cent in May from the same month a year ago despite bloody anti-government protests in the streets of Bangkok last month. Commerce Minister Pornthiwa Nakasai said exports were valued at 16.6 billion dollars in May while imports stood at 14.3 billion dollars, up 55.1 per cent.
Automotive manufacturing in Thailand started 50 years ago after a Japanese company set up operations as an import substitution activity to take advantage of preferential tax and import duty treatment. Laws mandating local content were subsequently introduced, with the limits raised from an initial 30 % to 40 % and then 60 %, to be abolished after the 1997-98 financial crisis. All pickup truck production prior to the 1997/1998 financial crisis was intended for domestic consumption, but companies began exporting after Japanese pickup producers shifted production from Japan to Thailand at the turn of the century.
Tax and excise incentives by the Thai authorities encouraged domestic sales of pickups at the expense of cars, and pickups still amount to almost three-fourths of current output. The cost of local labor appears to amount to just 5 percent of the value of output, half the level in the U.S., likely reflecting much lower wages and the high labor component of imported electronics in Thailand. Thanks to the relocation of pickup producers to Thailand, and the spillovers into car manufacturing, automotive production has surged in the past decade, rising from about 145,000 cars in 1998 to 1.4 million in 2008, establishing Thailand as the largest automotive producer in Southeast Asia and the largest producer of light pickup trucks in the world.
Thai domestic car sales in May stood at 62,205 units, 8.89 percent higher from April, Federation of Thai Industries’ Automotive Industry Club spokesman Surapong Paisitpatnapong said Thursday. The domestic car sales in May were 53.4 percent higher year on year in light of the country’s economic recovery, Surapong said. Meanwhile, Thailand exported a total of 75,075 cars in May, or 135.25 percent higher year on year and 31.39 percent higher from April, said Surapong. The exports’ value for May stood at 3.264 billion baht (100.772 million U.S. dollars), or 27.07 percent higher year on year, he said.In May Thailand assembled 132,165 cars, which was 25.74 percent higher from April and 114.03 percent higher year on year, the spokesman said. From January to May of this year, the country manufactured 620, 116 cars, which was 97.26 percent higher year on year, said Surapong.