Thailand's automotive industry enjoyed a bumper year in 2012, with vehicle production totalling 2.45 million units, a 68.32% jump from 2011, lifting Thailand to 10th place among the world's car producers.
According to the Automotive Industry Club at the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI), vehicle production hit its highest point in 51 years.
Of the total, 957,623 units were passenger cars (39%), 582 were buses of more than 10 tonnes and 1.49 million were trucks.
Production of motorcycles totalled 3.14 million units, a rise of 6.57%.
The FTI said domestic car sales in 2012 totalled 1.43 million vehicles, up 80.9%, while motorcycle sales rose 6.11% last year to 2.13 million units.
Car exports were up 39.56% to 1,026,671 units, a record high in the 25 years since the country began exporting cars in 1988. This made Thailand the world's seventh-largest car exporter. Export value totalled 490.13 billion baht, up 42.74%.
Surapong Paisitpatanapong, spokesman for the Automotive Industry Club, said car production is forecast to reach 2.5 million units this year, up 5% from 2012, with about 1.4 million slated for domestic sales and 1.1 million for export.
"There is no risk factor that may put a major threat to the country's car production and distribution," said Mr Surapong. "I believe that all segments still have promising growth this year."
After the expiry of the government's first-time car buyer scheme, 600,000 to 700,000 ordered vehicles will be delivered to customers over the next seven months.
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Writer: Piyachart Maikaew