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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        23  February 2011

Excise tax increase troubles Thai automakers

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Toyota, Thailand's biggest automaker, said again on Tuesday that it strongly opposed revamping the excise tax structure on the one-ton pickup truck and its variants.

"Toyota along with Isuzu and Mitsubishi disagrees with the tax restructuring that will add production costs to pickups and its variants, as these autos are performing well at the moment in both domestic and overseas markets," said Toyota Motor Thailand president Kyoichi Tanada. Isuzu, according to an industry source, would suffer most from the tax revamp since the Japanese automaker has only the D-max pickup truck and Mu-7 passenger pickup vehicle (PPV) in its portfolio.

Reports are that the new automobile excise tax structure under consideration by authorities would raise the tax rates on pickup trucks and PPVs. Automakers are concerned higher costs could slow the local market and exports.

The current excise tax on pickups is only 3 percent, but 20 percent for PPVs.

Pickups have been the cornerstone of Thailand's steady automotive export development for three decades.

Mr. Tanada said Thailand would lose its competitive edge to other countries in the region, as Toyota and others can move to countries with lower costs.

Toyota Motor Thailand senior vice-president Wichien Emprasertsuk said any tax hikes on pickup trucks and its variants were against the objective of forming an international innovative multi-purpose vehicle (IMV) programme, in which Toyota invested 30 million baht in Thailand to design and produce the IMV products.

Meanwhile, Toyota is looking for better results from its luxury line, with record sales of 650 units forecast for the Lexus in Thailand this year. Of the total, 330 are expected to be the Lexus CT 200h, the world's first luxury hybrid hatchback, introduced yesterday. Mr. Tanada said Lexus sales locally had been slow due to 80 percent import duties.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

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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