Toyota maintains Thailand commitment, will invest $257 million in the country image

Toyota Motor Corporation announced on Tuesday it would invest $257 million in Thailand, showing its confidence in the Southeast Asian car sector hub despite heavy losses caused by the floods.

The Japanese carmaker is building a manufacturing plant at Gateway industrial park and restarting a production line at its Thai Auto Works (TAW) plant, where it produced the Fortuners. “The reason we invest more is simply because we’re not producing enough,” Kyoichi Tanada, president of the Toyota Motor Thai unit was quoted as saying by Reuters.

He added combined production capacity of the two new Toyota plants would be 88,000 units, expecting the Gateway plant in Chachoengsao province to be ready for production in July 2013. The plant will produce passenger cars as well as environmentally friendly „eco cars”, Tanada said. The TAW plant in Samut Prakan province, which was closed in May 2010 after a drop in demand, would be able to start in December of this year, the executive added.

Despite the floods that hit the industry hard in the fourth quarter, analysts say Japanese car makers would continue to shift production to Thailand to take advantage of low costs. Tanada said production losses for Toyota from the tsunami in Japan and the Thai flood amounted to 200,000 vehicles in 2011.