Honda Automobile (Thailand) (HATC), Honda’s automobile production and sales joint venture company in Thailand, will see its annual production capacity rise to 420,000 units in 2015 through new investment in its existing and new plants.
“Thailand has long been one of our key markets and an important R&D and production base for Honda in the Asia/Oceania region. Honda will continue to create high-quality automobiles that meet customer needs and to fulfil our strong environmental commitment to leave ‘Blue Skies for Our Children’ while continuing to grow our business along with the growing prosperity of Thailand,” said Takanobu Ito, president of Honda.
Ito was in Thailand yesterday to join the ceremony marking the beginning of the construction of a new plant. The ceremony was presided over by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.
The new plant, to be located in the Rojana Industrial Park in Prachin Buri province, requires an investment of Bt17.15 billion, including land acquisition and construction costs. The latest facility is scheduled to start production in 2015 with an annual capacity of 120,000 units and an initial workforce of 1,200. HATC is planning to produce primarily small and sub-compact sized vehicles at the new plant, for which demand is increasing globally.
HATC will strive to establish a highly efficient production system at the new plant through various efforts including shortening of the production processes and introduction of the latest production technologies in painting and welding.
Furthermore, HATC is planning to extend the production line at its existing plant in Ayutthaya to further increase the plant’s annual production capacity from the current 280,000 units to 300,000 units in 2014. The facility employs 4,200 workers producing Brio, Brio Amaze, Jazz (known as Fit in Japan), Jazz Hybrid, City, City CNG, Civic, Civic Hybrid, Accord, and CR-V.
Combined with the capacity of the new plant, HATC’s total annual production capacity will increase to 420,000 units in 2015. The plan was announced after its plant in Ayutthaya was inundated during the 2011 flood disaster.
Since the plant reopened in 2012, Honda has witnessed a big increase in sales.
In the fiscal year ended March 31, 2013, sales in Thailand totalled 240,675 units, making Honda the best-selling automobile brand in Thailand passenger car segment.
Envisioning the continuous growth of the small car market in Thailand and exports to countries in Asean, Oceania, the Middle & Near East, Africa and the Caribbean, HATC will increase its production capacity while also enhancing its product line-up. Yingluck praised Honda, saying the automobile industry is one of the most significant to the Thai economy. The auto industry employs more than 500,000 people and supports economic development, along with related industries, including small and medium-sized industrial firms. The government has a policy to promote the car industry through investment privileges and excise-tax measures. The support provided to the industry focuses on environmental friendliness, development of human-resources and the creation of a good business environment. This makes Thailand a manufacturing hub for auto products, especially eco-cars and one-tonne pickup trucks. The government has also a strategy to promote Thailand as a centre for testing as well as research and development for vehicles in Asean, as well as to promote the use of eco-cars among Thais.