Canada's heft as a maker of automobiles is shrinking, and a new analysis of the world's car industry from Scotiabank suggests we're barely in the Top 10, leapfrogged by Thailand.
In his monthly report, the bank's economist Carlos Gomes says concerted efforts by the Thai government to build up production seem to be working, as the Asian nation produced 68 per cent more cars in January 2013 than it did the same month a year earlier.
Unlike Canada, which exports most of its cars, some 60 per cent of Thai-made vehicles are for the domestic market. And booming demand thanks to a new-car buyer's rebate that the Thai government has implemented until June 2013 is pushing the country to make even more cars to keep up with demand.
China still leads
The Thai Federation of Industries expects vehicle production to jump 43 per cent in the first quarter of 2013, and a government official recently stated that Thailand could build 2.8 million vehicles this year, up from 2.4 million last year.
"This would enable car and truck production in Thailand to leapfrog past assemblies in Canada," Gomes wrote. He suggests the country could be making 3 million cars a year by 2015.
Gomes's assessment jibes with official data from the International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers, which shows Canada barely held on to its No. 10 overall ranking last year, with 2,463,732 Canadian-built vehicles.
Thailand built 2,483,043 vehicles in 2012, good enough for ninth overall.
Indeed, Canada has seen its share of the global market slowly erode in recent years. While China remains the world's largest car manufacturer, building 19.2 million cars last year, America held on to second place with 10.3 million vehicles.
Canada was the second-largest North American producer for decades, before Mexico eclipsed Canada following the recession. Mexico built just over three million cars last year, good enough for 8th in the world.
Overall, carmakers built more than 84 million cars all over the world last year.