Thailand is one of Asia’s success stories – despite the past year’s global slowdown, Thailand is the second largest economy in the Association of South East Asian Countries or ASEAN region. The ASEAN umbrella covers 10 countries including Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam and Thailand. The automotive industry is Thailand’s third largest industry, employing over 300,000 people. In recent years, it has comprised approximately 12 per cent of Thailand’s overall gross domestic product or GDP. According to a Frost & Sullivan report, the Thai automotive industry was worth over USD 15.6 billion in 2008 and is growing by six per cent every year.
Thailand’s Board of Investment or BOI, says that since the construction of its first automotive assembly plant in 1961, Thailand has evolved into the largest vehicle producer Southeast Asia. Thailand’s automotive products are exported to 130 countries worldwide, and the nation is currently the world’s largest producer of one-ton pickup trucks, its seventh largest automotive exporter and its fourteenth largest automotive producer overall. “As such, it is truly a global and not just regional player in the industry,” says the BOI.
Thailand’s success in the automotive sector is due to the fact that the country boasts of excellent infrastructure. The country has an extensive road network – the largest in the ASEAN region with the government planning to further boost inter-city motorways. Plus the country has a large pool of skilled workes. Ford, General Motors, BMW and Daimler Chrysler, in addition to all the major Japanese manufacturers – Mitsubishi, Mazda, Toyota, Isuzu, Honda and Nissan – have all established presences in Thailand.
According to the Frost & Sullivan report on the Thai automotive industry, Thailand’s sixteen major automotive and seven motorcycle assemblers at the top of the supply chain, is driving the growth in the sector. Thailand also has nearly 650 large, medium and small scale Tier I suppliers – with 47 per cent of them being foreign-owned suppliers, according to Frost & Sullivan.
According to the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association or JAMA, the quality of automotive parts in Thailand is the highest among ASEAN countries. Locally produced or assembled parts include engines, suspension control and spring, axles, hubs, propeller shaft, brakes, clutches, steering systems, body parts, electronic parts, air conditioning systems, tires, wheels, internal and external trim components and glass.
Thailand is working on building up its reputation as a sourcing hub for global automotive companies. Plus increase the local content in certain auto parts – for example, certain components, such as fuel injection pumps, transmissions, aluminum casting, injection nozzles and anti-lock braking systems, among others, are all imported. Which is a great opportunity for Thai auto manufacturers. The Thai government also hopes to build up the country’s automotive expertise in areas such as electronic systems to support mold and die technology, design, research & development, product testing, instrument clusters, ECUs, sonar and central locking systems and environmentally friendly vehicles. This will help Thailand emerge as a premier destination for automotive sourcing.
“The country’s well-defined investment policies focus on liberalization and encourage free trade. Foreign investments, especially those that contribute to the development of skills, technology and innovation are actively promoted by the government. Thailand consistently ranks among the most attractive investment locations in international surveys, and a 2006 World Bank report indicated that Thailand was the 4th easiest country in Asia in which to do business, and the 20th easiest in the world,” says the BOI.
The Thai Auto-Parts Manufacturers Association or TAPMA was set up in the late 70’s to help promote the auto parts manufacturing industry in the country. The association’s mandate was to help detect and address problems that were hindering the automobile industry’s development in terms of production technology efficiencies, raw material import difficulties and workforce challenges – such as attracting and developing skilled laborers and engineers. “Presently TAPMA is entrusted by the government and more than 401 members to represent the automobile parts industry and elevate the country’s industry to greater heights,” says the association.
In line with the Thai government’s plan to further attract investments into the country’s automotive sector, the 4th Thailand Auto Parts & Accessories or TAPA 2010 will be held from April 28th to May 2, 2010 at Bangkok. The event is being touted as ASEAN’s largest auto parts and accessories show and will bring together manufacturers from the region as well as the rest of the world. TAPA 2010 is expected to attract 300 companies from across the globe. The number of visitors is expected to be around 16,000 and the major visiting countries will be the ASEAN countries, South Asian countries, Japan, Australia, Africa and Europe.
Thailand has a number of free trade agreements or FTAs which is expected to help Thailand attract foreign investors because they will have access to the 550-million strong ASEAN region. Thailand has FTAs with Australia, New Zealand, India, Japan and China. Thailand itself has 65 million people, which provides any potential investor with a good domestic customer base.
DEP will also take the lead and co-operate with other ASEAN countries to promote and develop the region as an auto parts and accessories sourcing hub. ASEAN has the potential of becoming a major auto parts and accessories sourcing hub as it is currently the 8th largest automotive production base in the world.
DEP has also lined up many exciting new features at TAPA 2010 which include the ASEAN Pavilion and Buyer’s Pavilion.
The ASEAN Pavilion will be participated by various automotive, auto parts and accessories companies in ASEAN. It is meant to showcase the capabilities of various automotive companies in ASEAN to prospective buyers.
The Buyers’ Pavilion will serve as a valuable platform for automotive buyers to share their needs with the exhibitors, explore business opportunities and discuss strategic partnerships.
TAPA 2010 is organized by the Department of Export Promotion and co-organized by Thai Auto-Parts Manufacturers Association. Supporters of the exhibition include The Federation of Thai Industries (Automotive Industry Club, Auto Parts Industry Club, Agricultural Machinery Manufacturers Industry Club), Thailand Automotive Institute, The Thai Automotive Industry Association (TAIA), Society of Automotive Engineers Thailand, The Tool and Die Industry Association, Thai Subcontracting Promotion Association, Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau (TCEB), Thailand Board of Investment and Department of Industrial Promotion.
Interested parties may contact the Department of Export Promotion, Office of Export Service 2, at Tel +66 (0) 2512-0093 ext.272, 250, 285; Fax: +66(0) 2513 1565, 2512-2234; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com;
Website: www.thailandautopartsfair.com, www.thaitradefair.com for further information.