Subaru production in Thailand is scheduled to end in December this year due to continuously declining sales in the country.

This leaves Subaru with just one production facility outside of Japan – United States – as its Malaysian production has also been earlier halted, with the factory now being used to produce Nissan and Renault vehicles.

The Tanchong Subaru Automotive Thailand Co Ltd (TCSAT) plant, located at the Lad Krabang Industrial Estate, is a joint venture between Tan Chong International Limited (TCIL), which holds 74.9 per cent, and Subaru Corporation, holding 25.1 per cent.

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Total investment for the 100,000-sqm facility is close to Bt5 billion (US$135,961,950) with a workforce of 400, comprising of locals and expats. The maximum production capacity is 100,000 annually year and Subaru initially targeted production of 6,000 units per year.

However, Subaru sales in Thailand has been gradually decreasing from the record 3,952 units in 2019, and sales in 2024 is expected to be lower than 1,000 units, leading to the plant closure.

Meanwhile, parent company Tan Chong Motor Holdings Bhd is reportedly in a tight financial situation with four consecutive years of losses — last fiscal year (ending December 31) net losses amounted to RM129 million.

TCIL, which is responsible for Subaru sales and production in ASEAN and China markets, has informed the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX) that it is preparing to stop vehicle assembly at TCSAT by the end of 2024, according to a news report by Prachachart Turakij.

According to the report, Subaru has been unable to offer our products at suitable prices, leading to the decision to end production. The Subaru Forester formerly sold in Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and Cambodia will be imported as CBU (Completely Built Up) instead.

Prachachat quoted Sureethip La-Ongthong Chomthongdee, general manager of TC Subaru (Thailand) Co Ltd, that TCIL came to the decision due to changing business environment.

Sureetip La-Ongthong Chomthongdee

“We still have locally-assembled vehicles for sale and once they are sold out, we will start importing vehicles,” she said. “Subaru customers need not worry as this decision does not affect after-sales services. We still maintain high standards in terms of spare parts availability, maintenance and repair as well as customer care.”

Subaru has 21 dealers and 24 service centers around Thailand.

“Subaru will continue to take care of customers just like before and it is just that we will not have a local assembly plant and will go back to the previous business model which is importing CBU vehicles,” she added.

The company retails approximately 70-80 vehicles per month and should meet demand through to the end of the year. However, Sureethip said there may be changes to the retail pricing.