The automotive industries of Southeast Asia have grown significantly but unevenly. Thailand has outperformed its neighbours in Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines with regard to production and, most notably, export volumes. But the Thai auto industry has not exhibited the level of local (indigenous) technology capacity and input growth seen in South Korea, Taiwan and, increasingly, in China. The 1997–98 and 2008 financial and economic crises generally reinforced pre-existing national automotive strategies, but to different degrees: They strongly accelerated an earlier Thai move to exports whose very success weakened pressures for upgrading; encouraged more moderate automotive liberalisation in Indonesia and, to a lesser extent, in the Philippines; but promoted only minimal changes to Malaysia’s relatively protectionist national car strategy. The fact that the crises served more to reinforce than to reverse existing tendencies reflects a broader set of political economy factors that influence national perceptions of crises severity and alternative responses.
Journal of Contemporary Asia, 2014, Vol 44, Issue 4, p. 664-687
Southeast Asia; ASEAN; Asian financial crisis; Global financial crisis; Automotive industry