This paper explores the innovation management strategy of Thailand in moving towards the Detroit of Asia. The study analyses Thailand’s automotive cluster based on Porter’s Diamond Model and national innovation system (NIS) framework. A qualitative methodology was carried out, using semi-structured interviews with the players in the Thai automotive industry. Thailand took a different NIS approach by pursuing an Original Equipment Manufacture (OEM) strategy to attract foreign investments in building its automotive cluster, a different path from other Asian countries that competed with Own Brand Manufacture (OBM) strategies. The findings provide useful lessons for other newly industrialized countries (NICs) in adopting the cluster policies to move up the technological ladders.