BANGKOK – As Thailand clinches its claim to be the "Detroit of the East," the pace is picking up. The 1998 economic crisis is a faded memory. Most of the world's major vehicle makers are even more firmly entrenched here, hungrier than ever, and eager to broaden both their reach and their grasp. "Thailand is where it's happening these days," says John Bonnell, a partner in Automotive Resources Asia in Bangkok, a research company specializing in Asia's automotive industry. "Industrial ...

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