Sluggish exports trim Thailand’s 2019 vehicle output

23, Jan. 2020

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BANGKOK, NNA – Thailand’s vehicle production last year fell due to stagnating exports on a strong baht against the dollar, while the U.S.-China trade dispute has dragged on.

Total vehicle output decreased 7.1 percent from a year earlier to 2,013,710 units in 2019, data released on Wednesday by the Federation of Thai Industries showed.

Passenger car production plunged 9.1 percent on year to 804,340 units, and commercial vehicles dropped 5.7 percent to 1,209,370 units, with the output of pickup trucks falling 5.8 percent to 1,178,026 units.

Sluggish exports weighed on production of vehicles destined for overseas markets.

Total exports from Southeast Asia’s car manufacturing hub declined 7.6 percent from a year ago to 1,054,103 units as shipments to Oceania, mostly Australia, plunged 15.2 percent to 301,923 units in its second-biggest foreign market after other Asian countries.

A 21.8 percent year-on-year increase in exports to the Middle East did not offset double-digit percentage declines to other major markets -- North and Latin Americas and Africa -- according to the industry body’s data.

Production for exports in 2019 tumbled 9.2 percent on year to 1,037,164 units, with passenger cars falling 16.3 percent to 348,174 units, the data showed.

“Given the uncertain outlook over the U.S.-China trade row and the appreciating baht, some Japanese automakers are shifting part of their production back to Japan,” Surapong Paisitpatanapong, vice chairman and head of the body’s automotive industry club, told a press conference in Bangkok on Wednesday.

Total vehicle production in Thailand this year is likely to remain at around 2 million units, the same level as the previous year, he added.