Japanese carmaker Isuzu to resume operations at 2 Thai factories in May

27, Apr. 2020

Isuzu D-Max (Photo by Filip Bunkens on Unsplash)
Isuzu D-Max (Photo by Filip Bunkens on Unsplash)

BANGKOK, NNA – Japanese carmaker Isuzu Motors Ltd. will restart automobile production in Thailand next month at its two factories, which have been suspended due to the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Isuzu Motors (Thailand) said in a statement on Friday it will resume operations at its Samrong plant in Samut Prakan Province east of Bangkok on May 5 and its Gateway plant in the eastern Thai province of Chachoengsao on May 18.

Car production at these factories has been suspended since April 13 because of a shortage of parts globally and slow demand for automobiles. The Thai unit produces the D-MAX pickup truck and MU-X sport utility vehicle among other models for sale in Thailand and 100 other countries.

Spread of the coronavirus has put people out of work and forced them to stay home in much of the world, soiling demand for non-essential goods.

The two factories’ combined production capacity is 366,000 vehicles a year, a spokesman for Isuzu said. Isuzu Motors (Thailand) sold 168,215 vehicles in 2019, down 5.4 percent from a year earlier, and had the second largest share in the Thai market at 16.7 percent after Toyota.

The spokesman had said 5,669 employees were asked to stand by at home in case of work-related needs and get paid during the suspension.

Isuzu is not the only Japanese automaker to suspend car production in Thailand. Toyota Motor Thailand Co. has decided to extend suspension of operations at its Samrong factory and Ban Pho factory in Chachoengsao Province until May 9. Its Gateway plant is due to close until May 12. The company had earlier announced that it would suspend operations at these plants until April 7-17 because of the sluggish demand for cars.

Isuzu Motors (Thailand) will take measures to prevent workers from contracting the virus, which causes a potentially deadly pneumonia, after resuming production, the statement said. Measures will cover hygiene of workers and workplace sanitation, it said.