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Auto industry to miss export target

The Thai automotive industry is likely to miss its export target of 1 million units this year because of a shortage of car parts over the past two months resulting from the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the Automotive Industry Club under the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) says.

Club spokesman Surapong Paisitpattanapong yesterday said auto exports this year were likely to drop to 950,000 units. Orders from overseas have not dropped off but carmakers in Thailand will not likely raise production in the second half of the year enough to meet demand.

Auto production for export from January to June was 413,322 units, down 2.71 per cent from last year. Of the total, 109,480 units were passenger cars, up 17 per cent on last year. However, production of 1-tonne pickup trucks during the first half of the year dropped 8.27 per cent to 303,842 units.

Surapong said the decline in auto production for export was due to a shortage in auto parts since the earthquake and tsunami hit eastern Japan, where many auto-parts plants are located. Some Japanese producers have yet to resume normal production. He said carmakers in Thailand had resumed normal production and overtime. Auto production from now on will not drop below 150,000 units, with maximum capacity being 180,000 units. Half the production is for domestic sales and the rest for export, he said.

Surapong said the Automotive Industry Club was retaining its auto-production target this year of 1.8 million units despite the disruption in the first half. Production in the first half was 810,510 units, up 5.4 per cent year on year.

In June, production was 153,546 units, a 3.14-per-cent increase from the same month last year. The figure also jumped 55.4 per cent over the previous month as all producers accelerated production to offset losses in the second quarter of the year.

Surapong said the club forecast auto production in the current third quarter at 486,987 units, up 145,458 units on the second quarter. The expected figure is 13.72 per cent higher than production in the same period last year.

Production capacity next year will rise to 2.5 million units from 2 million units currently thanks to the launch of production of eco-cars from Mitsubishi and Suzuki, Surapong added.

Source: The Nation

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