Suzuki To Stop Car Production in Thailand, Focusing on EV Shift

Suzuki Motor Corp announced it will cease the production of cars and trucks in Thailand by the end of next year, shifting its focus to the manufacture of electric and hybrid vehicles in other locations, as stated by the company on Friday.

The Japanese automaker plans to maintain its presence in Thailand through vehicle imports, including electric and hybrid models, from its facilities in other parts of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Japan, and India.

Suzuki explained that in its pursuit of global carbon neutrality and vehicle electrification, it had evaluated optimizing its production facilities worldwide and has chosen to shut down its Thai plant by the end of 2025.

Operated by Suzuki Motor Thailand Co, the Rayong province facility, established 12 years ago, has a capacity to produce 60,000 vehicles annually and employs around 800 staff.

This decision coincides with a period when Japanese car manufacturers are contending with strong competition from Chinese companies in Thailand and the increasing need to develop more electric and hybrid vehicles.

Suzuki has committed to introducing six electric vehicle models by 2030-2031 and plans to release its inaugural EV in India next year, with plans for exports to Japan and Europe.

The number of factory closures in Thailand is anticipated to rise following the earlier shutdown of 1,600 to 1,700 facilities this year due to economic downturns, mergers, or escalating operational costs, according to the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI).

FTI chairman Kriengkrai Thiennukul commented that the automotive sector is experiencing a slump with slow domestic sales and reduced export activity compared to its regional neighbors.

“We cannot be nicknamed the ‘Detroit of Asia’ anymore as Malaysia is replacing us,” said Mr Kriengkrai.