Suzuki to stop making cars in Thailand to focus on EV shift
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Suzuki to stop making cars in Thailand to focus on EV shift

12-year-old plant in Rayong will be closed by end of 2025

A model poses next to a Suzuki vehicle at the Bangkok International Motor Show, held in Nonthaburi province last year. (Photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)
A model poses next to a Suzuki vehicle at the Bangkok International Motor Show, held in Nonthaburi province last year. (Photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)

Suzuki Motor Corp will halt production of cars and trucks in Thailand by the end of next year to focus resources on producing electric and hybrid vehicles elsewhere, the company said Friday.

The Japanese automaker plans to continue its sales and after-sales services in Thailand by importing vehicles, including EVs and hybrids, from plants elsewhere in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), Japan and India.

"In the course of promoting carbon neutrality and electrification globally, Suzuki had been considering optimising global production sites within the group,” the company said in a statement, adding it had decided to close the plant by the end of 2025.

The 12-year-old plant in Rayong province was run by local subsidiary Suzuki Motor Thailand Co and has an annual production capacity of 60,000 units. It employs approximately 800 people.

The announcement comes at a time when Japanese automakers are facing intense competition from Chinese rivals in Thailand as well as pressure to produce more electric and hybrid vehicles. Suzuki aims to have a lineup of six EV models by 2030-2031. It plans to launch its first EV in India by next year, which it intends to export to Japan as well as Europe.

Factory shutdowns in Thailand are expected to gradually increase after 1,600 to 1,700 already shuttered earlier this year due the economic slowdown, merger plans or rising operating costs, according ot the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI).

The automotive industry is struggling as domestic sales are sluggish and exports have decelerated, compared with neighbouring countries, said FTI chairman Kriengkrai Thiennukul. 

"We cannot be nicknamed the 'Detroit of Asia' anymore as Malaysia is replacing us," said Mr Kriengkrai.

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