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Carmakers in Southeast Asia are reluctant to hit the accelerator

Plants ramp up slowly as coronavirus demand hit lingers after economies reopen

Mitsubishi Motors' vehicles are seen at a port in central Thailand. (Photo by Akira Kodaka)

BANGKOK -- Automakers operating in Southeast Asia are moving in low gear as they bring plants back online after weeks of suspended production due to the coronavirus pandemic. Safety protocols and weak sales force them to proceed slowly in restarting operations.

Since May, most Southeast Asian nations have been easing restrictions on business operations and people's movements that were introduced to contain the outbreak. In response to government moves to gradually bring things back to normal, Japanese carmakers, which control most of the region's auto market and production, have begun to reopen their plants.

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