Thailand wants to open auto powerhouse in Vietnam

(VOV) - The automotive industries of Vietnam and Thailand should cooperate for common development rather than competing each others, said President of Thailand Automotive Institute (TAI), Vichai Jirathiyut during the talks in HCM City on April 2.

The talks aimed to increase the production value of Vietnam’s automobiles and motorbikes in the ASEAN region.

Mr Vichai Jirathiyut said Vietnam’s automobile industry has recorded an impressive growth with 120,000 cars last year, up 29% in quantity and 35% in sales turnover.

He expressed wish that Vietnam’s automobile industry will continue to flourish in the future with an estimated quantity of 220,000 cars by 2020 and 1.5 million by 2035. This will help its automobile industry develop rapidly in the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) which is expected to be established late this year. Moreover, low-cost labour force and the government’s support policies will also facilitate the development of Vietnam’s automobile sector.

Mr Vichai Jirathiyut said that Thai manufacturers have possessed advanced technologies which will benefit Vietnamese producers in the ASEAN market.

However, local analysts and auto businesses worry that Vietnam will become a consumer of imported cars from the region as Vietnam begins to reduce tariffs under the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA) commitment.

As the localization rate of auto businesses remains low, ranging between 10% and 30% and import tariffs of completely built unit (CBU) cars are expected to be reduced to zero percent by 2018, cars assembled in Vietnam with imported spare parts will be more expensive than CBUs imported from Thailand and Indonesia.