Thailand plans to start construction of a long-delayed THB 4.5bn (US$130m) automotive testing centre in the Sanam Chai Khet district of Chachoengsao next year.

This followed cabinet approval for public funding of the project in March. The centre, to be managed by the Thai Industrial Standards Institute, is expected to help improve the competitiveness and product standards within the country's automotive component sector. 

The government hopes the centre will encourage more and more Thai automotive component manufacturers to channel more resources into R&D.

The institute will invite overseas advisors to help design the individual testing facilities over the next few months. According to local reports, the chosen advisory team will be asked to put together a master plan for the entire project by the first quarter of 2017. 

The centre, which will consist of eight main testing facilities, is scheduled to be completed by 2020.

Construction of a tyre test track that meets UNR-117 standards, which the government hopes will help drive growth in the local tyre and rubber industries, is expected to begin in 2018.