Toyota
has recently acquired all three million new shares issued by its Thai operation,
Toyota Motor Thailand (TMT).

This has increased TMT’s capital base by 66 percent or three million baht
(US$70.4 million) to 7.52 billion, making it Thailand’s highest-capitalised
vehicle company.

Toyota’s now holds a 85.3 percent stake, up from 69.6 percent, while Siam Cement
retains 10 percent and Bangkok Bank 2.17 percent.

Using the extra funding TMT plans to upgrade its assembly factories, improve
its marketing and reduce the time taken to introduce new models.

Toyota led the light pickup-dominated Thai vehicle market for years but lost
ground in 2000. It has also performed poorly so far this year, and was overtaken
in the sales race last January by rival Isuzu.

According to its president Ryoichi Sasaki, TMT is after a 35% market share
by the end of 2004 compared with just over 27% in 2001. "Within three years
we aim to achieve 100 percent localisation of our Thai production by using the
[Asean Free Trade] AFTA scheme and to be the majority market share holder in
each segment", he told local media.

He said TMT would develop its database to cover dealers and component suppliers
to “bolster our production, distribution and after sales networks, leading
to higher competitiveness."