With its superior geographic location and government support, Thailand has become the largest automobile producer in Southeast Asia, and is called the Detroit of Asia.

Automobile manufacturing has long been the pillar industry of the Thai economy. In 2017, the output value of automobile manufacturing accounted for more than 10% of Thailand’s GDP.

From 2011 to 2012, the Thai government implemented the First-Time Buyer Program to encourage automobile consumption, which led to a rapid growth in automobile production and sales.

However, the automobile production dropped by 25.77% in 2014 after the program expired. Despite a steady growth, it failed to recover to the 2.53 million units in 2013. The sales declined from 2013 to 2016, and rebounded to 873,000 units till 2017.

Thailand’s automotive industry is export-oriented

In the past five years, over 1 million automobiles were exported to ASEAN countries, Australia, the Middle East and Europe every year.

The import volume is less. However, the import tariff on automobiles is expected to be lowered as Thailand signs more free trade agreements in recent years.

Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor initiative proposes to develop 10 target industries including the automotive industry in the eastern region.

And the free trade agreements with Australia, China, India, New Zealand and other ASEAN countries will facilitate the development of overseas markets for Thailand’s automotive industry. Thailand Automobile Manufacturing Industry Report 2018-2022 – Production to Exceed to 2.4 Million Units – ResearchAndMarkets.com | Business Wire

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