Indian automaker Tata is moving production in Thailand as part of a company reset that aims to increase its Thai sales 83% this fiscal year to roughly 3,000 units.
With a 10-year contract up at the Thonburi Automotive Assembly Plant in the south of Bangkok, Tata has signed a renewable 5-year pact with the Bangchan General Assembly plant, 20 miles (34 km) west of central Bangkok.
Since its opening in 1970, Bangchan has been the home to assembly operations for 14 brands.
Production will begin at Bangchan after the installation of assembly equipment at a cost the Bangkok Post puts at TB500 million ($14.5 million). The facility will have a capacity of 8,000 Tata Xenon pickups and 2,500 Tata Super Mint pickup trucks in a 1-shift operation.
Tata says Xenon production will launch in September.
The automaker says its Tata Super Ace line will be assembled in both right-hand and left-hand drive versions.
To help reach its local sales target, Tata says it also will introduce more models to local showrooms.
Tata Thailand CEO Sanjay Mishra says sales grew 19% year-on-year in the 2016 fiscal year ending March 31. “Fiscal year 2016 marked Tata’s best retail performance in Thailand ever,” he says in a statement.
“Fiscal-year 2017 is a big step for the company’s future – we are making announcements for exciting new models as well as assembly upgrades and initiatives, new investment for the Super Ace Mint small truck and emerging opportunities that will deliver profitable and sustainable growth in Thailand.”
Sales of Xenon pickups, the automaker’s core product in the Thai market, rose 38% to 1,398 units last year, The Nation newspaper reports.
“With the major-change Xenon pickup to be launched in Q4 of this year, we expect to deliver 2,100 units of the new model – 1,800 domestic and 300 export – 500 units of the Super Ace Mint truck for a market share of about 10% for this type of car, 300 units of the Ultra and 100 units of heavy trucks this year,” Mishra says.
“Our goal is being a full-range trucking solution provider, and we will be the only player in the entire commercial-vehicle segment.”