Thailand becomes a key player

Production in Asian countries suffered a temporary setback as a result of the 1997 currency crisis, but this was used as an opportunity to expand the intra-region reciprocal supply system. When the IMV project was launched in the early 2000s, production was expanded and Asia's role as an export base was reinforced.

TMT built a second plant, the Gateway Plant, as an exclusive passenger car production facility in 1996, immediately prior to the currency crisis, and started producing the Corona there. In line with this, the No. 1 Samrong Plant switched to production of commercial vehicles. Also, Siam Toyota Manufacturing Co. Ltd., a Thailand-based component plant, established a casting facility that same year and began integrated engine production.

At TMT's Gateway Plant, production preparations were made for the Soluna, the first vehicle designed specifically for Asian markets, which was launched first in Thailand in 1997. The effects of the currency crisis, however, had a direct impact, and production performance slumped. In 2001, following recovery from the currency crisis, sweeping improvements were made to the Corolla, and production of the Corolla Altis, a vehicle designed specifically for Asian tastes, commenced. Production of the redesigned Camry and the Vios (the successor to the Soluna) began in 2002, and production of the Wish started in 2003. Later, as production capacity was increased, the Yaris was added to the production vehicle lineup in 2006, and the Corolla Altis underwent a complete redesign in 2008. In addition, production of the Camry Hybrid, the first hybrid vehicle in Thailand, began in 2009, and production of the Prius started in 2010.

TMT began intra-regional exports of the Hilux Vigo, a pickup truck that the Samrong Plant began producing in November 2004 under the IMV project, and expanded exports to Europe, Oceania, and other regions in 2005. TMT also began producing the Fortuner, an IMV series SUV, that same year and began exporting them to various Asian and Middle Eastern countries.

In 2007, TMT's No. 3 plant, the Ban Pho Plant, began producing the Hilux. Production at Thai Auto Works Co., Ltd. (TAW) was temporarily suspended in 2010, and production of the Fortuner that had been conducted there was transferred to the Ban Pho Plant.

In this way, domestic production in and exports from Thailand gradually expanded from the second half of the 1990s. TMT's cumulative production reached 2 million units in 2004 and 5 million units in 2010, and its cumulative IMV exports reached 1 million units, firmly positioning TMT as a key player within the global Toyota framework.

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