Nissan and Mitsubishi pledge continued Thai investments

Nissan and Mitsubishi, two of the world’s biggest automakers, gave Thailand a vote of confidence last week by pledging to maintain and increase their investments in the Kingdom’s auto-manufacturing sector despite a pandemic-induced economic contraction.

“We will continue to position ourselves as the car production base for many companies,” said Minister of Industry Suriya Juangroongruangkit after meeting with Ramesh Narasimhan, the President of Nissan Motor in Thailand.

Nissan recently closed its manufacturing facility in Indonesia, despite the large market in that country. Thailand is now Nissan’s only production center in Southeast Asia, and as car sales recover in many countries, Nissan’s manufacturing and exports from the Kingdom are bound to expand.

The Federation of Thai Industries said that manufacturers export about half of all cars assembled in the Kingdom.

With an eye to the future, Nissan has been investing in producing electric and hybrid vehicles in Thailand, although traditional combustion-engine cars are still in high demand.

Mitsubishi follows a similar route, designating Thailand as its electric vehicle (EV) production hub for the region. The company said it would invest over $640 million in the Kingdom next year and reaffirmed its commitment to do so last week.

Mitsubishi is planning on building 3,000 EVs in Thailand next year and wants to use the Kingdom as its base to expand its market share in the region by 11 percent.

Electric and next-generation vehicle technology and production is one of the priority industries  in Thailand, with the government having introduced a raft of incentives and privileges. Thailand has long been known as the “Detroit of Southeast Asia” because its vehicle-manufacturing sector is the largest in the region and the current government put in place several policies and incentives that aim to maintain the Kingdom’s comparative advantages in the sector.

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