Thailand’s automotive industry expects to resume normal production after the Thai New Year holidays on 18 April, after overtime was suspended at many vehicle assembly plants in the country in the immediate aftermath of Japan’s devastating earthquakes and tsunamis.

The Federation of Thai Industries estimates lost production to date at around 10,000 vehicles, as the industry cut overtime in anticipation of potential parts supply shortages in Japan. The federation expects this number will eventually amount to tens of thousands of units as supply chain disruption forces more downtime. It estimates the current production loss at around 5,000 vehicles per week.

Some hi-tech parts, such as electronics systems, are imported from Japan as well as parts for smaller volume models. But the FTI expects lost production will be made up later in the year and has left unchanged its total industry production forecast of 1.8m units for this year.

Toyota Motor plans to resume production at its facilities in Japan this week and is standing by its Thai full year vehicle production target of 685,000 units, of which around 50% will be exported.

Meanwhile, Indonesian vehicle manufacturers association Gaikindo has reduced its market forecast for 2011 to a more conservative 800,000 units, from 850,000 previously, as the industry asesses the impact of supply shortages from Japan. 

PT Honda Prospect Honda, the local Honda assembler, said it may have to revise its full year sales targets following the supply disruptions in Japan. The launch of the new Brio small car has been delayed in the region. 

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Malaysia Automotive Association’s (MAA) president, Datuk Aishah Ahmad, earlier this week said the impact on the Malaysian automotive industry would be “minimal”, although some delays in deliveries should be expected. 

“The industry still has sufficient stock at present, but it is too early to tell whether there will be longer term supply disruptions,” she added. The association maintained its 618,000 unit vehicle market forecast for this year.