With the slowdown in domestic auto sales ebbing and strong exports, Thai automobile production is expected to reach 2 million units next year, the Federation of Thai Industries projects.
Surapong Paisitpatanapong, a spokesman for the FTI's automotive industry club, said the production in 2016 likely will grow by 3%-4% year on year. Of that, 1.22 million will be vehicles destined for export with 780,000 sold in the domestic market.
Domestic auto sales posted their smallest rate of decline in more than two years in October, with sales set to pick up next year on increased investment in both the public and private sectors.
"Car sales started to improve after months of double-digit falls. That's because of demand for new models of pick-up trucks," Mr Surapong told reporters Tuesday.
Auto sales in October fell 4.2% from a year earlier, the smallest percentage fall since May 2013, when sales began easing after the effects of a government first-car subsidy faded. Subsidies ended in 2012.
For 2015, the industry estimated overall production of 1.93-1.95 million units, with 1.2 million aimed for the export.
While a motor show to be held next month should also help boost totals, Mr Surapong said overall sales likely will still end the year with a year-on-year contraction for the third consecutive year.
Sales, however, are expected to rise by 3%-4% next year, matching export projections.
Automobile exports in October rose by 19.1% year-on-year to 111,229 vehicles with an export value of 60 billion baht, up by 36.44%.
For the year, exports totalled 1.02 million units, up by 9.03%, worth 492 billion baht, up by 11.7%.
The club said car output last month rose by 3.52% year-on-year to 165,381 vehicles but fell by 3.57% month-on-month.
The surge was propelled by pickup trucks bound for Asia-Pacific and the Middle East and eco-cars shipped to Europe and North America.