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CN - Toyota Motor Thailand hikes capacity of Ban Pho plant by 40pct

It is reported that Toyota Motor Thailand is raising the capacity of its Ban Pho plant in Chachoengsao by 40% to accommodate fast growing vehicle demand abroad and at home.

As per report, the country's biggest automaker will invest THB 3 billion baht to expand the Ban Pho plant, which was designed to produce Hilux Vigo pickup trucks and Fortuner sport utility vehicles. The plant is currently capable of producing 18,000 to 20,000 vehicles per month.

Toyota has also been investing to improve vehicle assembly speed at its Samrong plant in Samut Prakan to increase production volume since there is no room for expansion. The Ban Pho expansion would start in September 2011.

Mr Kyoichi Tanada president of TMT said that "Even though pickup truck and SUV production has been expanded, we believe the total cumulative supply remains short of local and overseas demand."

As a result, Toyota expects to expand the plant again next year. Toyota builds more than 45,000 pickup trucks and SUVs per month at the Samrong and Ban Pho plants.

Mr Tanada said that Toyota would let its affiliate in Indonesia continue producing Fortuner SUVs even after the Ban Pho plant capacity has been expanded. Some SUV production was shifted from Thailand to Indonesia earlier because the capacity was strained and the supply could not meet the domestic and overseas demand.

Mr Tanada also congratulated Mitsubishi Motors and Nissan Motor for reaching an agreement to produce Nissan Navara pickups at Mitsubishi's Thailand plant at Laem Chabang. The agreement will help develop and promote the automotive industry in this region and Thailand.

Toyota launched updated Hilux Vigo and Fortuner models to build on their steady popularity since their introduction in 2004. Toyota sold about 2.3 million units of the Hilux Vigo and Fortuner in domestic and overseas markets from 2005 to 2010. The vehicles are expected to be exported to some 113 countries.

Sourced from www.bangkokpost.com

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