Toyota Motor Thailand (TMT) is celebrating its 60th anniversary in the Land of Smiles after first establishing itself there in 1962. TMT has since achieved a production total of over 12 million units, with one Toyota built in Thailand every 20 seconds. Last year alone, TMT produced over 500,000 vehicles.
TMT introduced its first car that was fully engineered and built in Thailand called the Soluna (which eventually became the Vios) after a merger with the Siam Cement Group in 1987. It was so popular that a record-breaking 28,000 units were sold in just three days. Even his Majesty, King Rama 9, the late Bhumibol Adulyadej, bought one.
In 2002, TMT was tasked to produce the Innovative International Multi-Purpose Vehicle (IMV) with the goal of creating a common platform that would support different models to achieve economies of scale. The first vehicle spawned from the IMV platform was called the Hilux Vigo and was so successful that it was known then as the national car of Thailand. To date, over seven million IMV-based vehicles have been built in Thailand, with over four million units exported to 124 countries.
Over the years, TMT has established three plants – Samrong, Gateway and Ban Pho – along with a Toyota Daihatsu Engineering and Manufacturing (TDEM) R&D facility in Bang Bo. The three plants are responsible for the local production of vehicles such as the Hilux, Fortuner, Corolla, Corolla Cross, Yaris, Yaris Ativ, Camry and C-HR.
Currently, TMT leads the Thai market with a 33% market share with the country being one of Toyota’s highest volume production centre and is ranked fourth behind Japan, China and the USA. TMT is now the largest vehicle exporter in Thailand today.
In the ASEAN region, TMT’s success includes building the first fully local manufacturing plant, first engine plant, first Research and Development centres and the first battery recycling plant. TMT was also the first to build a hybrid vehicle and the first to introduce a Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) to its market.
Speaking at the 60th anniversary ceremony, Akio Toyoda, President of Toyota Motor Corporation said, “It has been a privilege to grow and prosper here in Thailand. For me, it’s not about how many cars we’ve sold here or whether we’re number one in sales. My greatest wish is simply to be number one in the hearts of our customers here in Thailand because we want to contribute more to this country than just cars. We want to help foster economic opportunity.”
At the ceremony, Akio also introduced the new IMV pick-up truck for Thailand called the IMV 0 Concept with its launch slated to be over a year away, along with the Hilux Revo BEV concept. The two is said to cater to different needs and customers with the former aimed at supporting economic growth and mobility for all while the other is designed to be carbon neutral.
Moving forward, TMT aims to reduce its CO2 output by a further 13% by installing solar panels in all its factories by 2025. Since 2014, the company has reduced its CO2 output by 35%.