Honda's Thailand factories exported THB100.2bn worth of automobile, motorcycles and power products last year, up 20% from 2006 figures, Asian Honda Motor Company has announced.

The impressive export performance was achieved despite a host of negative factors affecting the local industry in 2007, including rising oil prices, a sharp appreciation of the baht against the US dollar and economic uncertainty in the US, Tatsuhiro Oyama, president and CEO of Asian Honda Motor, said, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Honda expects exports from Thailand to reach THB112.1bn in 2008, up 12%, Oyama added.

"By the end of 2007, Honda in Thailand has cumulatively exported THB450,429m worth of automobiles, motorcycles and power products, making Thailand one of our most important production and export hubs," said Oyama, who noted that the Japanese multinational first started using Thailand as an export base in 1987.

The Sydney Morning Herald said last year's exports from the kingdom were led by CBU (completely built up) and CKD (completely knocked down) vehicles, up 29%, to THB65bn, followed by CBU and CKD motorcycles, up 11%, to THB22bn.

In 2007, the company exported 78,798 CBU automobiles from Thailand factories, the most popular of which was the Civic. Major export markets included Australia and neighbouring South-East Asian countries.

Asian Honda Motor expects its automobile exports in 2008 to increase 16% by value to a total of over THB74.9bn, the report said.

Over the past two decades Thailand has become a major manufacturing hub for the automobile industry in South-East Asia, earning itself the nickname of "The Detroit of the East."

It is a prime global source of Japanese-designed one-tonne pickup trucks and also makes cars such as the 'wide body' US-style Honda Accord.