Thailand’s
biggest vehicle maker, Toyota Motor Thailand Co, has promised to use more local
parts at the request of Industry Minister Suriya Juengrungruangkij, the Bangkok
Post reported.

"Our pledge will be in line with our localisation policy which we are
determined to make successful in 2003," president Ryoichi Sasaki told the
newspaper after a meeting with Suriya.

Sasaki added that Toyota would cut Thai-made vehicle exports this year and
increase parts exports instead.

In a separate request, Toyota Australia has asked the Thai operation to restrict
vehicle exports because they’re affecting sales of Australian-made Toyotas.
As well as selling cars at home, the Australian operation has a thriving export
business which includes some markets to which Toyota Thailand also ships.

Though Thai export vehicle shipments would be slashed, Toyota intendeds to
increase 2001 export revenues to vehicles and parts worth 13 billion baht ($US295
million), up from 12.5 billion baht the previous year, Sasaki told the Bangkok
Post.

The newspaper added that Toyota vehicle exports would be reduced to 11,400
units from 16,031 last year. Most are shipped to Australia but some also go
to Singapore and Brunei.

These
are two markets where Toyota Australia sends its Camry model.

"We mainly export one tonne pickup trucks and some cars to Australia but
the world economic recession and the weakening currency in Australia have prompted
us to cut exports," Sasaki said.

Toyota has set a sales target of 80,000 vehicles this year, up from 71,300
last year.

The increase is in line with the Thai vehicle market recovery which is projected
to reach 300,000 units this year, up 14 percent from 262,189 in 2000.

The Thai auto parts industry plunged into trouble after the economic melt-down
in 1997, the Bangkok Post said. Many were forced to cease operations, be taken
over by foreign companies or enter partnerships with foreigners.

Toyota aims to increase the use of local content to 100 percent in 2003 to
reduce production costs and foreign-exchange risks, as well as creating more
jobs.

At present, Toyota cars have 50-74 percent local content depending on the model.
One-tonne pickup trucks, a Thai vehicle industry speciality, use 75 percent.

"Toyota recently extended about 200 million baht ($US4.5 million) in financial
support and as a working fund for press and tooling plants in the Eastern Seaboard
area as part of its mission to buy locally-made parts from them," Mr Sasaki
told the Bangkok Post.

Other parts producers that supply items to other vehicle makers such as General
Motors will soon have an opportunity to supply them to Toyota as well, the newspaper
added.










To view related research reports, please follow the links
below:-


Toyota (inc Daihatsu) Strategic Review

The
automotive industries of Asia-Pacific