Japanese automakers reaffirm Thailand commitment

Japanese automakers reaffirm Thailand commitment

Cars are seen waiting at the dock at Laem Chabang port in Chon Buri province as the management of four Japanese automakers assure with Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Monday that Thailand will continue to be their major base. (Photo by Thiti Wannamontha)
Cars are seen waiting at the dock at Laem Chabang port in Chon Buri province as the management of four Japanese automakers assure with Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Monday that Thailand will continue to be their major base. (Photo by Thiti Wannamontha)

Honda’s top four automakers reaffirmed their commitment to using Thailand as a major base for manufacturing, research and development during a meeting with Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Monday.

Commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn led Kyoichi Tanada, president of Toyota Motor (Thailand), Takashi Kikuchi, president of Isuzu Motors Thailand, Kazutaka Nambu, president of Nissan Motor Thailand, and Noriaki Abe, president of Asian Honda Motor, to meet the premier at Government House.

Deputy government spokesman Werachon Sukondhapatipak said the prime minister told them that the government was doing its best to facilitate foreign investment and he wants the companies to maintain their production bases in the kingdom.

The executives reaffirmed they would use Thailand as their primary manufacturing centre in Southeast Asia and the country was their biggest production bases, second only to Japan, Maj Gen Werachon said.

Toyota plans to make hybrid vehicles that will use fuel cells. Isuzu will manufacture environmentally friendly pickup trucks, along with hybrid vehicles that consume biodiesel. Nissan will produce electric vehicles for export and Honda will use Thailand as its regional R&D centre, the deputy government spokesman said.

The executives also thanked the government for waiving import duties on prototype vehicles, which they said cuts R&D costs, he said.

Gen Prayut told them that the automotive sector was among 10 industries that his government considered as "new engines for growth" and he would like to see the companies apply high technology in their production here and transfer their knowledge to Thai people and small and medium-sized enterprises, including knowledge about batteries.

Maj Gen Werachon also said that during the meeting Japanese automakers raised concerns about the transport of automobiles from industrial estates to ports, the specifications of car carrier trucks and conditions for the government's purchases of pickup trucks.


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