Suzuki opened its first factory in Rayong, Thailand in March this year and is currently making vehicles for the domestic market only. Suzuki Thailand intends to build 15,000 cars in its first year of operation with at least 33 percent of production destined for international markets. The aim of the project is increase production further to feed the demand from Southeast Asian countries and supply Australia in the near future.
Suzuki’s move to Thailand comes amid the ever-resilient Japanese Yen, which despite the recent natural disasters and a slowing world economy has remained strong, causing serious headaches for auto manufacturers producing vehicles in Japan. Suzuki Australia will join the growing list of manufacturers such as Mitsubishi, Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Isuzu, Mazda and even Ford, which source certain models from Thailand.
The Asian country’s free trade agreement with Australia and more a favourable exchange rate makes it the ideal country to supply Swift and potentially other Suzuki vehicles to our market.
Suzuki Australia’s Communications Manager, Andrew Ellis, told CarAdvice that Swift production from Thailand would become available to Australia sometime next year and that there’s “potential for other cars” built at the factory to be exported for the Australian market as well.
Suzuki Australia currently sources all of its vehicles from Japan, except for the Indian-built Suzuki Alto. Direct competitors such as the Honda Jazz have long been sourced from Thai factories (although very recently the company switched production back to Japan following the flooding of its factory) and based on that, the switch from Japan to Thailand is unlikely to affect sales or market perception.
So far this year the Suzuki Swift has captured nine percent of the light car segment with over 7,000 sales nationally. Do you think the switch, which may potentially mean more favourable pricing, would have a significant impact on the Swift's marketshare?
Read: Suzuki Swift Review