Automotive Industry in Thailand: 2023 Market Trends

Entering 2023, the Thailand automotive industry will be dominated by trends like electric vehicle development as the market continues to grow.

Overview of Thailand’s Automotive Industry
Currently, Thailand is the second-largest economy in Southeast Asia and its GDP is expected to grow even further at a 5.4% CAGR from 2021 to 2025, eventually reaching a value of 632 billion USD within the same period. These statistics suggest that Thailand and its professional industries, like automotive, are well-positioned for success in Asia and across the globe.

When analyzing the composition of the Thai automotive market, there are approximately 1800 companies in the automotive sector, this includes 30 to 40 major companies, around 700 Tier 1 automotive part producers, and over 1000 Tier 2 and 3 producers. The presence of these stakeholders not only signifies that the current automotive supply chain is vast but more importantly, that it is primed for further industry growth due to its dynamic market structure.

In terms of total vehicles in circulation, there are approximately 42 million vehicles in Thailand as of 2021. Due to factors like practicality and affordability, more than 50% (~21 million) of the market consists of motorcycles. Following closely behind are passenger vehicles and pickups at ~11.3 million and ~7 million, respectively. Recent statistics reveal that Thailand is averaging 2.5 to 3 million newly registered vehicles annually, which totals 5-6 % of the total vehicles in circulation; this presents a unique growth opportunity for aftermarket players in the country. 

For Thailand’s aftermarket market structure, automotive parts are generally distributed from the manufacturers through importers, master distributors, and wholesalers, or are made available directly to consumers via retailers. Several retail channels are utilized to facilitate these sales, like automotive part shops, chain workshops, independent workshops, original equipment suppliers (OES) shops, etc. The independent workshops and OES are the most prominent of these players as they have the most volume flow at 49% and 30%, respectively. 

Implications of the Electric Vehicle Trend
The number of electric vehicles (EVs) across the world is increasing rapidly, thus signifying that automotive players are heavily invested in the electrification of the industry.

The EV trend is expected to drastically impact the automotive supply chain in Thailand as the production of EVs will require automotive components that are different from those that are currently utilized in the ICEV production process. For instance, components like exhaust systems and gearboxes will no longer be needed, while demand for electric parts will only continue to increase. 

While this is a positive development as some parts and equipment manufacturers will still be compatible with the EV production process, others who are not may need to redevelop their operations or expand into other markets. Moving forward, part manufacturers should adjust their strategies to accommodate the needs of EV assemblers. This is expected to have a significant impact on the following industries: (1) electric components, (2) batteries, (3) wire and cable, and (4) tires.

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