Goodyear in Thailand expecting growth thanks to EEC

Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) is sparking growth beyond its borders as American tire-maker Goodyear said last week it would expand its Thai production to supply auto and aviation manufacturers locating in the Corridor.

Goodyear Managing Director Luca Crepaccioli said his company is negotiating with car and aircraft companies for new contracts to supply them with the tires they need to keep up with their expanding production facilities in the Corridor.

The EEC is a three-province advanced development zone adjacent to Bangkok. The EEC is home to 10 industries that the government believes will drive Thailand’s development to a higher technological level. Among those industries are aviation and next-generation vehicles.

Goodyear’s plant is not in the EEC, but in Pathum Thani, a province just north of Bangkok. Nonetheless, the growth of manufacturing in the EEC is creating a ripple effect: companies outside the zone are seeing their business increase with companies in the zone.

Goodyear announced in August 2016 it would invest $186 million for a radial aircraft tire factory in Pathum Thani, in the expectations of supplying commercial airlines both in Thailand and overseas.

“The government is promoting Thailand as the aviation hub in Southeast Asia, so Goodyear hopes this policy will support the tire industry as well,” Crepaccioli said.

Car sales in Thailand, on the other hand, have been flat. However, the country still has the second-largest market in Southeast Asia, and the industry expects sales to improve in coming as the economy rises along with global growth.

“The local market has sales of 10 million tires a year,” Crepaccioli said.

Goodyear employs over 1,000 people in Thailand, and exports tires to Asia, the Middle East, Oceania, and South Africa.

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