Toyota, Thailand, and expansion to Vietnam

Toyota built its first plant in Thailand in 1962, becoming the first Japanese carmaker to establish production operations in the country. The plant was located in Samrong, a suburb of Bangkok, and initially produced the Toyota Crown, a luxury sedan that was popular in Thailand and regional markets.

Over the years, Toyota has continued to expand its operations in Thailand, with additional plants and facilities located in various parts of the country.

Thailand’s policies over the years have contributed to this expansion including the introduction of competitive tax rates, tax breaks, and rebates that engender direct investment into the automotive sector.

Toyota’s early entry into the country also means a skilled workforce has been built up over the ensuing decades.

Not to mention Thailand’s geographical location as a transportation hub which provides access to growing car markets in neighboring countries.

All of this has contributed to making Thailand an important hub for Toyota. This is underlined by the building of a research and development center in Thailand which focuses on developing new technologies and products for the region.


A line of rhetoric that has permeated recent political discussions has been the moving of automotive manufacturers to Vietnam.

While, Toyota has not moved all of its production from Thailand to Vietnam, it has expanded its operations in Vietnam in recent years. There are several reasons why Toyota and other companies are increasingly looking to invest in Vietnam.

Vietnam has one of the fastest-growing economies in the region, with a large and growing consumer market, which makes it an attractive location for businesses looking to expand their operations. Thailand meanwhile has stagnated heavily due to political instability and the pandemic.

Vietnam has also implemented a number of economic reforms in recent years, aimed at attracting foreign investment and improving the business environment. This has led to a reduction in bureaucracy and regulations, making it easier for companies to do business in the country. Meanwhile, Thailand has become increasingly protectionist under the Prayut Chan-ocha government – determined to safeguard our small piece of the pie.

Vietnam has a large and young workforce, with a strong emphasis on education and training, particularly in technical and engineering fields. This makes it an attractive location for manufacturing and other industries. Meanwhile, Thailand’s educational shortcomings are well known with language and technical skills lagging far behind.

The Vietnamese government also offers various incentives to foreign investors, including tax breaks, land-use rights, and streamlined procedures for obtaining permits and licenses.

However, it’s worth noting that Toyota still maintains a significant presence in Thailand, with several plants and facilities in the country.


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