Honda Looks to New Markets as Japan and Australia Slow

Honda believes that there is strong demand for Thai cars on the export market, despite the recent global slump in sales that has left the US Auto industry looking very fragile.

Honda Automobiles (Thailand) Co. Ltd., has seen export orders drop of 10 percent, due mostly to a decrease in demand from Japan and Australia. But, Honda still thinks that there are plenty of buyers out there for both completely built-up (CBU) cars, as well as for kits for assembly in the world market.

Exports of CBU cars from Honda (Thailand) reached THB 31.7 billion in the first 9-months of 2008. While this does represent an increase of 5 percent on the same period a year ago, most of this can be attributed to high demand for Honda's fresh model lineup. The City, Jazz, Civic, Accord and CR-V are exported to 34 countries around the world.

The main growth has been in the CKD exports though, where the value of exports has jumped by 17 percent with kits going to Asean countries, India, Taiwan, China, Turkey, Brazil and Pakistan.

Honda Thailand is currently discussing with Honda Motor Co. about possible expansion of exports of cars and is especially interested in the demand in Turkey, and Eastern European markets.

The desire to find homes for Thai made cars is understandable in light of Honda just opening the doors of its second plant in Auytthya. The THB 6.2 billion facility has doubled production capacity in Thailand to 240,000 units per year.

The plant will be the production base for Honda's planned Eco Car, as well as existing Honda models including the Accord, which is the first model to be produced in the new plant. Honda is currently seeking the BoI to allow this investment to be counted towards the Eco Car project (for tax reasons of course).