Japanese Car Makers Flee Bangkok War Zone

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
japanese car makers flee bangkok war zone

Demonstrations in Bangkok have been put down with a brutality not expected from the Land of Smiles. The stock exchange is on fire. Thailand instated a news and power blackout, making the number of killed and wounded hard to assess. Japanese car makers have long been invested in Thailand. Now, they are worried about long-term implications.

Toyota relocated its Bangkok office to a suburb, says The Nikkei [sub]. A week ago, Toyota had announced the closure of a plant near Bangkok.

Honda halted operations at car and motorcycle plants in Thailand today, The Nikkei [sub] reports. Yesterday, Honda’s Bangkok office, has been relocated to a temporary location outside the city. Honda shares fell in Tokyo on the news.

Other companies, such as Ford or GM-Daewoo have plants in other provinces and are not yet affected.

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  • Robert.Walter Robert.Walter on May 20, 2010

    Wonder what this does to Ford's Asian Production Strategy for the Global T6 Program - the forthcoming replacement the two old Ranger programs a) the NAAO-Ranger, aka P150, and b) Mazda-B-based non-NAAO-Ranger ... Thailand-export production threat was a strong lever to use against the UAW ... indeed, the P150 Twin Cities producton was supposed to end by 2011 ... but if Thailand blows-up, where will the T6 be produced?

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    • Guyincognito Guyincognito on May 20, 2010

      Also, remember that Thailand is a major consumer of this truck as well.

  • Psarhjinian Psarhjinian on May 20, 2010

    Thailand should be a warning to other nations and corporate entities about what happens when you play footsie with populism instead of actually working to enable your lower- and middle-class: * Keeping your lower- and middle classes reasonably empowered, such that they can share in propserity and have an opportunity to grow, is good. Sure, you might lose the ability to maximise wealth for the very rich, but as we've seen that's not completely sustainable * Disenfranchising them is bad. * Disenfranchising them, but then letting some populist twerps play to them as a way to get votes, and then getting booted out because knee-jerk populism is a bad idea, is horrible. Now you have a bunch of upset people who had a taste of power. The lesson should be especially apparent to the European extreme Right and Left, as well the Tea Party** in the US (and I'm sure that people thinking about curbing China's middle class would do well to look at Thailand). There is a huge difference between socialism and populism***: the former is a kind of harm-mitigation strategy; the latter is letting the inmates rule the asylum. Playing to the latter is a dangerous thing, especially since the more extreme of populist policies generally don't work. ** there is no American left wing. *** note to Randians: there is a difference. If you can't see it, it's a forest-for-the-trees.

  • FleetofWheel FleetofWheel on May 20, 2010

    I doubt any Asian auto plants in the Southern US are considering pulling up stakes due to active Tea Party elements nearby. They stay put despite shrieking from the very real American left wing outlets that the sky is falling because rightward groups are engaging in exercises of speech and assembly.

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    • John Alexander Thacker John Alexander Thacker on May 20, 2010
      This is basically what the modern Tea Party is: a populist movement made up of people who are pissed off because they got their way for eight years and aren’t adjusting well to reality. Strange, I have sympathy to the Tea Party because I'm pissed off about what happened for eight years under Bush and is continuing under Obama. If you want to say, "Oh noes, those people weren't out in the street when Bush was proposing TARP," sure, I'll agree that stupid political solidarity plays a part with lots of people-- just like no one is out on the street protesting Obama assassinating US citizens with drones, and otherwise generally engaging in continuing Bush policy on spending, TARP, and everything bailouts in general. One of Thailand's problems is that the people from outside the Bangkok elite felt that they couldn't get ahead if they weren't from the right area, the right schools, or had the right political connections. I certainly haven't seen anything that Obama has done to make that better instead of worse.