Friday, December 7, 2007

Suzuki to build 9.5 billion baht car plant in Thailand

TOKYO, Dec 7 (Reuters) - Japan's Suzuki Motor Corp (7269.T: Quote, Profile, Research) said on Friday it would invest 9.5 billion baht ($280 million) to build a 100,000 vehicles-a-year "eco" car factory in Thailand that will start production in the summer of 2010.

The factory, to be located in the eastern province of Rayong, will build fuel-efficient cars being promoted by the Thai government to attract investment in export-oriented factories for small cars.

Bangkok this year revived the so-called eco car project, offering tax breaks, duty exemptions and other incentives if manufacturers invested a minimum 5 billion baht and produce 100,000 vehicles annually by the fifth year of operations.

At full capacity, Suzuki's new factory would have about 1,200 employees, it said in a statement. It plans to produce 5,000 cars in the first year, a spokesman said.

Suzuki has virtually no presence in Thailand, the world's biggest maker of one-tonne trucks, selling just 1,000 cars last year.

Most other Japanese automakers such as Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T: Quote, Profile, Research) and Honda Motor Co (7267.T: Quote, Profile, Research) have also announced plans to build eco cars in Thailand.

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