Thailand exported over 440,000 vehicles in 2005, up 33% from 332,000 in 2004, according to the Reuters news agency.

Volume is expected to rise to 520,000 this year.

The data is from market leader Toyota Thailand, which compiles the country's vehicle industry statistics and itself exported 152,000 vehicles, up 188% year on year, thanks to the production launch of the Innovative Multipurpose Vehicle (IMV) programme.

Mitsubishi exported 88,000 vehicles, Ford 55,000 and Honda 45,000. The other major exporter is Isuzu, which shipped 43,000 trucks.

The figures reflect Thailand's importance as a global production hub for pickup trucks from Mitsubishi, Ford, Mazda and Isuzu. The country is also the main global source of Honda's Aria the sedan derivative of the Fit/Jazz hatchback.