The Japanese embassy in Thailand and the Japan External Trade Organization (Jetro) has signed a record of discussions (RD) with Thailand’s Science and Technology Ministry and National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) to develop Thailand into a manufacturing hub for not just pick-up trucks, but also hybrids and electric vehicles.
According to a report by the Bangkok Post, the deal will focus on upgrading human resources and research and development at Thai industries.
It also quoted NESDB secretary-general Arkhom Termpitayapaisith as saying that Japanese companies willing to promote Thailand as a manufacturing hub for pick-up trucks, hybrids and electric vehicles if the Thai government offered import tariff and excise tax waivers for imported car prototypes and auto parts that had yet to be made in Thailand.
They also proposed that the Thailand government should contribute some funds to develop automotive testing centres for crash, high-speed, wind-tunnel, durability and emissions tests.
The Thailand Automotive Institute have earlier mooted a proposal to develop an automotive testing centre. The Thai government has committed THB 5 billion for the project but it is still pending cabinet’s approval.
Among the hybrid vehicles currently produced in Thailand are the Toyota Camry Hybrid, Honda Civic Hybrid, Honda Accord Hybrid, diesel-electric hybrid variants of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, E-Class and S-Class. The Toyota Prius was also assembled there but was discontinued earlier this year following a dispute in tax documents between Toyota Motor Thailand and the Thai Customs Department.