Thai new car sales seen topping 1 million in 2018, 1st in 5 years

26, Oct. 2018

BANGKOK, NNA – New vehicle sales in Thailand in 2018 are expected to top one million units for the first time in five years, overcoming the recent slowdown caused by the fading effect of past tax credits.

In the first nine months of this year, new car sales rose 20.3 percent from a year earlier to 746,584 units, according to data compiled by Toyota Motor Thailand Co., the country’s leading carmaker. Industry officials expect sales to exceed the one million mark for the whole of 2018.

Surapong Paisitpatanapong, vice chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries, recently projected that sales will rise further toward yearend.

Antoine Barthes, president of Nissan Motor Thailand Ltd., has also said 2018 full-year sales are “highly likely” to reach one million units.

Surapong said consumer sentiment should improve as political uncertainties in the country have eased somewhat. The military government has promised a general election sometime next year in response to popular demand.

The Thailand International Motor Expo later this year is also expected to support new car sales, he added.

In the January-September period, passenger vehicle sales rose 19.0 percent from a year earlier to 291,091 units, while commercial vehicle sales grew 21.1 percent to 455,493 units.

Last year, new vehicle sales overall gained 13.4 percent to 871,650 units, the first annual growth in five years after a surge of 80.9 percent to a peak of 1,436,335 units in 2012.

New car sales in 2012 were boosted by tax rebates for first-time car owners purchasing by the end of that year. Sales had also rebounded from a slump the previous year, when massive floods swept through southern Thailand, causing a supply-chain breakdown for manufacturers.

On a monthly basis, Southeast Asia’s second-largest automobile market posted the 21st consecutive year-on-year growth in September and double-digit percentage gains for the 13th straight month, according to industry data.

Japanese carmakers in Thailand hold a combined market share of 85.5 percent, according to the latest data.