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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        13  April 2011

Consistency, trade agreements spur Thai autos

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As a threat is looming that Indonesia will replace Thailand as the largest vehicle market in Southeast Asia, automakers recommend that the Thai government keep consistent policies and promote exports through free-trade agreements to maintain its competitiveness against regional competitors.

Ford Motor, the second largest US automaker, forecasts that a relatively larger population and rising incomes would allow Indonesia to overtake Thailand in terms of overall domestic sales over the next few years.

"Indonesia's population is nearly four times that of Thailand, and with incomes rising and a larger middle class developing, the simple mathematics related to the respective populations will bring about a larger domestic industry," said Peter Fleet, the president of Ford Asean.

Overall sales in Asean should surpass 3 million units within the next few years, with Thailand and Indonesia continuing to take the lion's share, he added.

However, Thailand will remain the largest in Asean in terms of overall vehicle production by a significant margin and its position as a global manufacturing and export hub will continue to grow, said Mr Fleet.

"Thailand is currently the world's 12th largest auto producer with a growth trend that will soon take it into the top 10," he noted.

But he said that Thailand should have an accessible government that is open to industry discussion in order to strengthen the country's growth potential in the eyes of foreign automakers.

Given its population of 200 million, compared to about 68 million in Thailand, it will take Indonesia only a few more years for the neighboring country to catch up with Thailand in terms of vehicle sales

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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