The Thailand automobile production target this year has been revised upwards to reflect rapid growth of the passenger car market, said Surapong Phaisitpattanapong, a spokesman for the Federation of Thai Industries' automobile industry club.

According to the Bangkok Post, he new production target for vehicles excluding motorcycles is 1.457 million units, a 2.1% increase from 1.427 million set earlier and 13.1% above last year's output.

Local passenger car sales rose 32% year-on-year in the first half this year, helped by lower prices resulting from excise-tax reductions for E20 gasohol-powered cars.

However, sales of pickup trucks in the first six months dropped 2% because of high diesel prices.

Vehicle production for local sales is forecast at 666,000 units, up 1.4% from the original target and an 11.4% increase from last year.

Production of cars and pickup trucks would be 405,000 and 985,000 units, representing increases of 5.74% and 1.34% respectively from the original targets.

According to Mr Surapong, vehicle production for exports would total 791,000 units, a 2.7% increase from the original target and up 14.8% from last year, helped by 25% export growth in the first half of 2008.

New car production for export would be 176,000 units, unchanged from the earlier target, while pickup trucks would total 589,000 units, a 3.5% increase from the original target. PPV production for export would rise 4% from the original target to 26,000 units.