Toyota, Honda, Mazda, Ford suspend auto production in Thailand due to Covid-19 spread

30, Mar. 2020

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BANGKOK, NNA – Major foreign-invested automakers in Thailand are temporarily shutting down assembly plants after the government declared a nationwide state of emergency last week to contain the coronavirus outbreak.

Honda Motor Co., Mazda Motor Corp. and Ford Motor Co. all plan to halt production in the country, they said in separate statements.

Toyota Motor Corp. will suspend operations at three plants from early April, The suspensions will last about 10 days, according to an NHK report.

Toyota Motor (Thailand) Co., a core subsidiary of the Japanese auto giant, has a total annual output capacity of 760,000 units at the three factories, according to its website. That capacity makes it the top automaker in Thailand as well as the largest car exporter.

Honda Automobile (Thailand) Co., a local manufacturing unit of the big-name Japanese producer, stopped work at two plants from Friday through April 30 or until further notice, the unit said in a statement Thursday. The plants are in Ayutthaya and Prachinburi provinces. The local manufacturer cited an escalating virus outbreak and a downturn in the Thai market for new vehicles.

The two plants churn out passenger cars for foreign sale in Australia, Africa, the Philippines and Vietnam and other countries in addition to the Thai market, an Asian Honda Motor Co. regional headquarters spokesman in Thailand said.

Passenger car maker Mazda suspended the operation of Auto Alliance (Thailand) Co., a manufacturing joint venture, for around 10 days starting Monday.

A Thai plant run by Ford Motor Company (Thailand) Ltd. also suspended work from Friday. The suspension is expected to “last a number of weeks depending on pandemic situations, national restrictions, supplier constraints and dealer stock requirements,” the manufacturer said in a statement.

The U.S. parent company temporarily stopped plants from March 21 in India, South Africa and Vietnam, it said in a statement.

Thailand produced more than 2 million vehicles, half of which were exported, last year.

Monthly car output has seen negative year-on-year growth since May 2019 due to appreciation of the local baht currency against the U.S. dollar, the U.S.-China trade dispute and stricter rules on bank lending in Thailand, according to data of the Federation of Thai Industries.

The industry body said at a press conference on March 19 that it had revised its 2020 production target from 2 million units to 1.9 million units prior to those announcements by the carmakers.