MITSUBISHI Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation (MFTBC), a unit of Daimler Trucks, yesterday announced the construction of a new assembly plant in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC).
The company will invest 12 million euro (Bt450 million) in a complete knock-down (CKD) assembly plant in Rayong province, according to company executives who also admitted to the insufficiency of its past strategy for Thailand.
“Thailand is the biggest and fastest-growing market in Southeast Asia, the market is too big for us to miss,” said Michael Kamper, senior vice president and head of sales & marketing of MFTBC.
The new plant will have an annual capacity of 4,000 trucks. Construction is scheduled to commence in October with inauguration of the new facility expected in the second quarter of next year.
In the first stage, the plant will assemble FUSO's heavy-duty FJ 2528C trucks, already launched in Thailand earlier this year.
He said the company saw an investment opportunity as Thailand has been promoting the EEC project as the Thai government plans to develop Thailand as a logistics hub for Southeast Asia.
When asked about the competition from rail transport as the government plans to build several double-track rail projects, Kamper was optimistic and said that road transport is not much different to rail transport.
They two modes of transport will compete, but at the same time, they could complement each other.
Sascha Ricanek, chief executive of Daimler Commercial Vehicles Thailand (DCVT), a distributor for FUSO products, said DCVT will take over Mercedes-Benz bus and truck business as part of Daimler's global customer dedication strategy.
“It was natural step for us to consolidate our commercial vehicles business including the FUSO and Mercedes-Benz brands under DCVT,” he said.
The CKD plant in Rayong will be fully- owned by Daimler AG and it leaves the door open for local partners in the future.
Ricannek revealed that the group has a market share of 3 per cent in the commercial truck segment in Thailand with European heavy-duty trucks accounting for 1,700 units, and Japanese brands 26,000 units. |The market grows about 12 per cent annually.
The DCVT plans to further extend its dealer network to 14 and 24 sub-branches in Thailand this year, he added.
Daimler established DCVT in 2016 as the official distributor of FUSO , followed by being appointed distributor of Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicles. Daimler owns 89.29 per cent of shares in MFTBC.