JAKARTA: Isuzu Motors plans to relocate a factory from Thailand, where it is the top-selling pickup truck producer, to Indonesia and could start production as early as next year, Indonesia’s industry minister said on Wednesday.
Minister Agus Gumiwang Kartasasmita met with executives of the Japanese company in Tokyo on Tuesday, the ministry said in a statement.
Isuzu Motors Company (Thailand) Ltd, which operates two assembly plants locally, did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for confirmation.
“We appreciate Isuzu’s decision,” the Indonesian minister said in a statement. “We will provide incentives and will support the relocation process.”
Isuzu already has a factory in Karawang, Indonesia.
Indonesia currently produces automobiles for Japanese brands including Honda, Mitsubishi and Suzuki. It is also seeking to position itself as a centre for electric vehicle battery production, capitalising on its abundant raw materials.
Isuzu first entered Thailand in 1966 and has two assembly plants: Samrong in Samut Prakan and Gateway in Chachoengsao Province. The plants have a combined production capacity of 385,000 vehicles per year and employ 6,000 people.
Isuzu is best known for its D-Max pickup, which led the one-ton pickup market last year for the third year in a row. A total of 390,000 pickups were sold in Thailand in 2022, with Isuzu accounting for a 46% share and the Toyota Hilux 38%.
No details were available on what aspects of Isuzu’s business in Thailand would be affected by a shift to Indonesia, or whether there would be job losses.
The company said in December last year that it was waiting for the right moment to launch electric pickups and trucks in the Thai market, which is currently more geared towards passenger electric vehicles (EVs).
The Yokohama-based automaker is developing electric pickups and plans to launch electric trucks in Japan this year.