Sunday, June 29, 2008

Thailand auto industry needs 200,000 more workers by 2016

Suzuki CervoSuzuki Cervo, ECO car Project

Thailand's automobile industry is expected to produce 2.5 million vehicles including the new eco-cars by 2016, leading to demand for another 200,000 workers, according to Atchaka Sribunruang Brimble, the director-general of the Industrial Economics Office. Every sector in the industry must co-operate to build up the manpower base needed, she said.

Higher-skilled workers will help support the industry to make quality products and increase productivity. Also, a skilled workforce will be better able to absorb new manufacturing engineering and technology.

At present, human resource development is centred in educational institutions, while many car companies provide training in both theory and practice.

Under the existing master plan for the industry, Thailand is on track to achieve its goal of building 1.8 million vehicles by 2011. ''That goal is not too hard to reach since we are able now to produce 1.6 million vehicles per year while many automakers are moving ahead to raise their output to meet export demand,'' said Ms Atchaka.

Once local automobile output reaches two million units per year, exports will be half that. The small, fuel-efficient eco-cars are meant primarily for the export market.

To help develop auto parts manufacturing, the master plan also contains a six-billion-baht parts testing centre and proving ground to enable Thai auto parts to compete internationally, said Ms Atchaka.After Thailand shifted its policy to developing exports from import substitution manufacturing in 1994, the kingdom became the base for automobile production in Southeast Asia and now is the production centre for most major car brands worldwide.

Thailand ranks 15th in the world in manufacturing capacity, producing more than one million units per year.

''If Thailand were a car, it could be said that we are racing in the fast lane because our manufacturing capacity is going strong,'' she said.

[Source : Bangkok Post]


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