Thailand is expected to attract new investment from the Japanese automotive industry as it rebuilds production capacity in the wake of the devastation caused to the north-eastern coastal areas by the earthquake and tsumani earlier this year.

Hemaraj Land and Development Plc, one of Thailand’s leading industrial land developers, said the company has received a significant increase in enquiries in recent months from Japanese vehicle manufacturers planning to establish new production operations.

Hemaraj’s main industrial estate in Rayong currently accommodates the vehicle production operations of General Motors, Ford-Mazda, Isuzu and Suzuki, as well as around 16 major first-tier component suppliers.

Paopitaya Smutrakalin, director for planning at Hemaraj, said the strong yen and recent natural disasters were driving Japanese vehicle manufacturers and major suppliers to offshore production, particularly to replace export operations in Japan.