Car testing centre ready by 2018

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Thailand’s first automotive and tyre-testing centre following global standards is due to be ready for use by next year.

The centre will be used to certify Thai automotive and tyre products as well as for research and development (R&D) to help in the country’s push to become a hub for next-generation auto products, said Industry Minister Uttama Savanayana.

The 3.7-billion-baht testing centre is located on 1,234 rai of land in Chachoengsao province’s section of the Eastern Economic Corridor.

“The first phase of the testing centre should be ready for Thai car and tyre makers in 2018. The whole testing centre should be ready for full operation in 2019,” said Mr Uttama.

The project was launched in 2015 as the government wants to support not only the automotive sector but also tyre-related industries to boost demand for natural rubber. Tyre industries consume around 70% of total rubber products.

He said the testing centre would be the first with global standards in Thailand, accepted by major global automakers in the US, Australia, Europe and Japan. That level of quality should help improve auto production technology and industry standards as the country prepares for the next generation of vehicles in Thailand 4.0, said Mr Uttama.

He said the testing centre includes an R&D centre that the government hopes will enable the Thai auto industry to become the automotive hub of Asean.

“The construction of a tyre-testing track and a new car-testing track following global standards is due to start next month. They are expected to be ready for testing by next year,” said Mr Uttama.

Somchai Hanhiran, permanent industry secretary, said the first phase of the testing centre, with a 1.4-kilometre testing track, is due to be completed first, ready for testing by mid-2018. For the second phase, the government expects to construct five small testing fields for several types of automobiles, tyres and auto parts testing processes.

The ministry is requesting another tranche of the budget from the government for construction of the second phase, which is due to start next year.