Car production set to rise by 3.53% this year
Total of 1.95 million units are expected
The Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) expects domestic car manufacturing to increase by 3.53% to 1.95 million units this year, following an expansion of car exports in 2022.
Car production stood at more than 1.88 million units last year, driven by better sales in Thailand and overseas, though in December domestic car sales fell in many categories because of the impact of flooding and semiconductor shortages.
The FTI has set a higher car manufacturing target for 2023, with 1.05 million units expected to be produced for export (a 1.22% increase) and 900,000 units made for the domestic market (a 6.36% rise), said Surapong Paisitpatanapong, vice-chairman of the FTI and spokesman for its Automotive Industry Club.
"There are good signs in the export market, and China has also reopened," he said, adding that the Thai economy will continue to recover, with estimated GDP growth of 3%.
"We also hope the chip shortage will be eased."
The club will review the annual target in the middle of this year, as there may be some factors, notably a global recession, which could affect the automotive industry.
Last year, the club downgraded Thailand's total car manufacturing target to 1.75 million units, a dip from 1.8 million units. This was after the Russia-Ukraine war worsened the prolonged global semiconductor shortage as the two countries are major exporters of neon gas, a key material in chipmaking.
According to the club, in 2022 car exports increased by 4.28% year-on-year to 1,000,256 units, which was close to pre-pandemic numbers.
In December alone, car exports rose by 10.2% year-on-year to 111,605 units.
Thailand's main export markets in 2022 were the Middle East, other Asian countries, Australia and Africa. Shipments to Europe and the US dipped because of the economic slowdown and the impact of the Russia-Ukraine war.
In 2022, manufacturers produced more than 1 million cars for export, a year-on-year increase of 8.45%, and made 846,198 units for the domestic market, a year-on-year increase of 16.1%.