Thailand is fast becoming a manufacturing hub with Toyota, Honda, Mitsubishi and Isuzu being part of 14 manufacturers using the destination to make pickups and smaller cars.
In 2012 Thailand Manufactured 2.45m vehicles making it the 7th largest exporter globally. In 1995 they barely exported 9,000 vehicles, and in 2012 it exceeded 1 million. This was made way for by de-regulating the industry, offering generous incentives to produce eco-friendly cars and cutting the corporate tax rate from 30% to 20%. This was all a strategic move by the Thai government to get to where the manufacturing industry is today – the largest car manufacturer in South East Asia.
Another allure is the cheap labour with it being one fifth of getting it done in Japan. This allows the production lines in Thailand to be labour intensive rather than be dominated by robotics.
So are there any problems with Thai made vehicles? Initially when the exporting started to ramp up there seem to be quality and finish issues with aspects like paint. But now the bugs are all ironed out and the difference between Japanese and Thai vehicle build is un-noticeable so much so that fussy Japanese buyers are satisfied. It has also passed the test with Aussie buyers and now about to be tested again by the US market.
Having driven different Thai made vehicles in my years of the industry I can confidently say that I never noticed any imperfections or inferiority in the product.
If I can get into a better optioned vehicle at a cheaper price I’m all for the Thai insurgence of the auto manufacturing industry.
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