November 14, 2012 00:00 By The Nation 4,411 Viewed
Toyota Motor President Akio Toyoda recently unveiled the plan to invest in a small car production line in Thailand, for exports to the world.
The small car would be unveiled at the Bangkok International Motor Show in 2013.
Meanwhile, the hybrid car output would also be increased to 1 million units in the near future, he said at the party to celebrate the 50th anniversary of its local unit.
Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota Motor in Japan, flew in for the party which was attended by Deputy Prime Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong and other 1,800 guests.
"I'm very pleased to see the bright smiles on your faces, which entitle Thailand to the "Land of Smiles" slogan. I wish to express my admiration to all Thais who put their efforts in reviving the country from the flood disaster. The half-century existence here has taught us valuable experiences. This inspired me to maintain the commitment that whatever happens, Toyota would be beside Thailand all the way," Toyoda said.
To mark the anniversary, Toyota announced the sponsorship to an auto workshop at Chitralada School, as part of the corporate social responsibility campaign.
Established in 1962, Toyota Motor Thailand set up the first manufacturing plant in Samrong in 1964 to produce "Dyna" and "Corona" models. The Gateway plant was opened in 1997 together with the introduction of "Soluna" of which design was assisted by Thai engineers. In 2004, the IMV (Innovative International Multi-purpose Vehicle) project was launched to produce
"Hilux" pickup trucks. The Ban Pho plant was unveiled in 2007, as the manufacturing base of "Hilux" for the world.
In 2012, the company registered another milestone, with record output to hit 880,000 units and domestic sale of over 500,000 units.
"Twenty years ago, Thailand's auto production was only about 100,000-300,000 units, including 30,000-80,000 units from Toyota," said Kyoichi Tanada, president of Toyota Motor Thailand. "The growth momentum has continued despite the flood disaster. Confident in Thailand's potential, Toyota is committed to pour more investment here. Thailand is like our home.
This year, Thailand's vehicle sale is expected to reach 1.4 million units, while export figure will hit 900,000 units. Toyota now employs over 17,000 workers in Thailand including 30 Japanese, with a plan to increase workforce by another 2,000.
Toyota on Nov 12 unveiled the new Corolla Altis which includes an E85compatible model. Introduced in Thailand 46 years ago, Altis has generated accumulated sale of 813,000 units. Toyota targets monthly sale of 4,200 units. Coping with high demand in export and domestic markets, the country's biggest automaker has recently achieved another milestone: all three plants now can assemble one vehicle every 56 seconds.