Although its new Ban Pho manufacturing plant in Chachoengsao province opened less than a month ago, Toyota Motor Thailand is planning to increase the plant's production capacity to 200,000 units annually and preparing for a second phase of development.
Senior vice president Suparat Sirisuwan-nangkura said the production expansion would start by late 2009 or early 2010, in order to serve an expected increase in exports.
Total production in the Ban Pho plant's first phase is forecast to rise from 100,000 units to 200,000 units per year in the near future.
However, this will serve market demand for only a few years, so the company is considering increasing its investment in a second phase.
The Ban Pho Plant, which is Toyota's third manufacturing plant in Thailand, is in Chachoengsao province, about 60km east of Bangkok.
It assembles pickups for the domestic and export markets and is one of the most modern auto-assembly plants in Asia, specially equipped with the latest environmental and production technologies.
"The company expects exports of Toyota vehicles from Thailand to reach 200,000 units, which will encourage the Thai operation to become Toyota's major export base," Suparat said, adding that total production in Ban Pho, including the first and future second phases, will eventually reach 400,000 units per year.
"Production is planned to serve estimated growth in market demand from 2010-15. After that, it will be time for a technology change," he said.
The Ban Pho plant opened on March 14 at a cost of Bt15 billion.
It covers 80 hectares, part of a 208-hectare plot and includes advanced technology for energy conservation and pollution management.
Suparat said the company had not yet decided on building a proving ground, because it was waiting for clearer investment policies from the government.