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Toyota May Shift Some Car Production to Thailand From Japan

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July 1 (Bloomberg) -- Toyota Motor Corp., the world’s biggest carmaker, may move production of some cars to Thailand from Japan, the head of its Thai unit said.

“We are starting consulting with Toyota Motor Japan, but things are not finalized yet,” Kyoichi Tanada, president of Toyota Motor Thailand Co., said in an interview in Bangkok. He declined to elaborate on the models being considered and said Toyota may take as long as two years to make a final decision.

Automakers including Nissan Motor Co. and Ford Motor Co. are moving production to Thailand as costs rise in other manufacturing regions. Nissan, Japan’s third-largest automaker, plans to produce 90,000 March compact cars in the Southeast Asian nation this year, the company said yesterday. Ford plans to build a $450 million car factory in the nation by 2012 that will build cars for export as well as for domestic sale.

Toyota, the largest automaker in Thailand, currently assembles its one-ton Hilux Vigo pickup truck and Fortuner sport-utility vehicle in the country for export. Lower costs and a strong supplier base are among Thailand’s advantages, Tanada said.

The Toyota City, Japan-based carmaker has raised its sales forecast for Thailand to 270,000 vehicles this year from an earlier estimate of 250,000, as the nation’s economy recovers, Tanada said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Liza Lin in Singapore at llin15@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Terje Langeland at tlangeland1@bloomberg.net

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