BANGKOK, March 21 (Kyodo) — Suzuki Motor Corp.'s subsidiary in Thailand announced Wednesday the start of sales of the new Swift, a compact hatchback "eco-car" being produced at its new plant in the eastern part of the country.
The factory, set up in Rayong Province with 21.7 billion yen in capital investment, began producing the "All-New Suzuki Swift" earlier this month with the initial target of 15,000 units this year, Suzuki Motor (Thailand) Co. President Takayuki Sugiyama told reporters.
The new Swift, which is also being produced in Japan, Hungary and India, conforms to the eco-car project being promoted by the Thai government, which aims to increase the production of environmentally friendly compact passenger vehicles.
Suzuki said it will sell some of the cars in Thailand, and export others to neighboring Southeast Asian countries.
Sugiyama said Suzuki hopes to achieve a sales target of 20,000 units in 2012, with the made-in-Thailand, low-emission compact cars accounting for about half of the total.
Last year, Suzuki sold 9,600 imported vehicles in Thailand, giving it a market share of merely 1 percent.
The new factory's current production capacity of 50,000 units a year is expected to double in five years, Sugiyama said.
Since 1967, Suzuki had manufactured only motorcycles and boat engines in Thailand. It established the new650,000-square-meter factory in Rayong's Hemaraj Eastern Seaboard Industrial Estate in 2008.
The previous Swift model was produced at seven plants around the world and is sold in more than 100 countries and regions.