Excise taxes are pushing for assortment precedence

Cars are waiting for export in the port of Laem Chabang in Chon Buri province. (Photo by Patipat Janthong)

Any proposed vehicle excise tax restructuring shouldn’t affect the country’s product master, the one-ton pickup truck, says an excise agency source who requested anonymity.

The source said if the tax change targets battery electric vehicles (BEVs) only, there are concerns that it could lead automakers to relocate manufacturing facilities from Thailand to other countries to produce internal combustion engine vehicles or oil powered cars to serve countries who do not have an extensive electricity infrastructure network.

The source said Thailand is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of 1-ton pickups that shouldn’t be developed as electric vehicles (EVs).

Because they are primarily made for the transport of heavy loads and often drive to remote areas where no charging stations are available.

The source said Thailand’s policies to promote electric vehicles should focus on passenger cars.

The National EV Policy Committee agreed on a master plan in March that would see 100% of cars made in Thailand be EVs by 2035, accelerating the original schedule by five years.

The plan also foresees that 50% of all vehicle production in the country will be electric vehicles by 2030.

The source said, on a move similar to other countries, Thailand should use non-tax incentives and custom measures to encourage BEV production.

The current structure of the vehicle excise tax is based on the emission rates of carbon dioxide (CO2). If a car has fewer CO2 emissions, it will be taxed less than a car that emits more CO2.

The source said whether the country can hit the committee’s target for 2035 depends on the direction of private auto companies.

Private car companies have emphasized the importance of electrical infrastructure to support the introduction of charging stations for electric vehicles. If there aren’t enough charging points, it will discourage consumers from buying electric vehicles, the source said.