In brief

Numerous technological disruptions have occurred in many industries over the past decade. We have seen and expect to see more evolution of major industries globally and locally. The automotive industry is one of the most disrupted. With the acceleration of advanced device and sensor technologies and AI embedded systems, the current generation of automobiles have become much "smarter" with these technological advancements.

Challenges and disruptions in the automotive industry boil down to the acronym "CASE", which stands for Connected cars/Autonomous driving/Shared mobility/Electrification — four potential major trends linked to the evolution of the industry. CASE is not a new industry buzzword. It was first presented at a motor event in Paris back in 2016 by Dr. Dieter Zetsche, CEO of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, as the company's strategy for the mobility of the future. Today, CASE has been widely adopted by major automakers and even opens the door for non-automotive players to join the expanding ecosystem.

The new trend of CASE may take another decade or two before maturity but a new age of vehicles has dawned. It is only a matter of time before vehicles with the latest CASE features become available to the public. Given that there are more players in the industry, some with different industry backgrounds, establishment of global vehicle standards is one thing that is expected to provide consistency and confidence to consumers. However, when it comes to the introduction of new technology that primarily involves safety, the local elements, such as the availability under local legislation and drivers' behavioral studies for optimization of new features, must be considered.

As for Thailand, the CASE trend has been well recognized by both the public and private sectors and the government has been working on developing relevant laws for some time. Some of these include:

  • Amendment to the regulations regarding permission for use of radio communication equipment for radar systems in vehicles in early 2018 to ensure the safety of using transmitter devices with certain frequencies in automated vehicles.
  • Designation of "next-generation automotive" development as the first category of targeted industries granted with several types of investment privileges under the Eastern Special Development Zone Act (commonly called the EEC Act) enacted in May 2018.
  • The Board of Investment’s official notification to implement its new investment promotion scheme for electric vehicles and related businesses (click here to see our previous update for more details).

Additionally, as the automotive industry plays a vital role in Thailand's economy and as Thailand has thrived through the decades to become the "Detroit of Asia" with its global ranking of 11th among vehicle manufacturing countries, the Thai government has announced a national roadmap to transform Thailand into an electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing country with a 30% EVs manufacturing ratio by 2030.

For the private sector, ride-hailing services have been fully embraced by the Thai public and have already been established as a daily norm of transportation. More shared/subscription services and new features are expected to be highly welcomed as well.