By The Nation
The total export value of pick-up trucks exported from Thailand to Europe has been on a downturn, dropping 0.8 per cent on average over the last three years, after Europe has shifted its focus to South Africa.
However, Kasikorn Research Centre believes EU’s higher standards for carbon emissions may be a blessing in disguise for Thailand, because it can woo foreign investors to manufacture electric pick-up cars in Thailand for export to Europe. If so, the country might be able to win back the European market share.
Despite the high potential for electric pick-up trucks worldwide, not a single carmaker has decided to make one.
As per EU rules, by 2020, the amount of carbon dioxide a pick-up truck can emit has been capped at no more than 147 grams per kilometre.
Kasikorn Research said that if the authorities can motivate automakers to produce hybrid pick-up trucks in the country, then Thailand will gain a competitive edge, given that it may be the only country outside Europe to produce such vehicles at a stage when global demand for such cars is not high.
The centre believes Thailand has the potential to woo such investors as it already has a strong industry of producing pick-up truck parts. It also has production bases for batteries, used in electric vehicles, and a pool of highly skilled workers.
South Africa, however, has one advantage over Thailand -- it has a free-trade deal with the EU. Thailand will have to secure free-trade deals with EU countries and even the UK after Brexit to woo foreign firms to invest in Thailand.
The centre concluded that if all factors favoured Thailand and if it can achieve all that is required, then within the next five years, the market share of pick-up trucks exported to the European Union could rise to between 30 and 37 per cent from the current 20 per cent.