The automotive industry in Thailand was the largest in Southeast Asia and the 12th largest in the world.
Nearly half of the world's largest automobile manufacturers and assemblers have located factories in Thailand such as Ford, General Motors, BMW, Daimler Chrysler, Mitsubishi, Mazda, Toyota, Isuzu, Nissan, Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki. From an agriculture-based economy more than 50 years ago, Thailand has become the world's key car production and export center.
Thailand has now changed its vision and growth policy in shifting from using cheap labor and manufacturing to replace imports to investing more capital and high technology and an export-oriented strategy.
Due to an open investment policy, Thailand has attracted many foreign corporations. They are allowed to own land to build factories and are provided with good infrastructure. The country also built complete auxiliary industries. As the domestic auxiliary industry expanded, many other production activities also developed.
By the end of 2011, domestic parts suppliers accounted for the largest number with 1,700 companies compared to 16 foreign companies. As a result, the localization rate of the automobile industry has reached 70-80%. Since 2012, Thailand has become the largest car manufacturer in Southeast Asia.
Within more than 60 years, the Thai automotive industry has risen to the No. 1 in Southeast Asia with nearly 2 million vehicles per year. Today, many of the world’s biggest car makers rely on Thai factories and workers to power their regional production.