Toyota, Mazda upgrade forecasts for entire Thai car market in 2017

BANGKOK, NNA - Japanese automakers Toyota Motor Corp. and Mazda Motor Corp. have revised upward their forecasts of overall new car sales in Thailand in 2017 after first-half sales showed double-digit growth.

Toyota, leading the local market with a share of around 30 percent, projected on Thursday sales of 830,000 new vehicles for 2017, while Mazda said Wednesday it expects sales of 820,000 this year, both greater than their earlier projections of around 800,000 vehicles.

Overall sales in the Southeast Asian country totaled 409,980 vehicles in the January-June period, up 11.2 percent from a year earlier, according to Toyota, thanks to economic recovery due to the government's stimulus measures and the launch of several new models in the market.

The better-than-expected results in the first half have raised hope of achieving the first annual sales growth in five years. New car sales in 2016 totaled 768,788 vehicles, down 3.9 percent from the previous year.

Toyota Motor Thailand Co., the local arm of Japan's largest automaker, now expects the entire market to grow 8.0 percent, up from the initially projected 4.1 percent, President Michinobu Sugata said.

The company, however, has maintained its projection that its own sales will rise 8.1 percent to 265,000 vehicles in 2017, after first-half sales rose only 3 percent from a year before to 112,488 units. Toyota did not launch new models during the period, the president said, adding it will put on sale two to three new models in the second half of 2017 to catch up with the market growth.

Toyota remained the market leader with a 27.4 percent share in the January-June period, and expects to expand the share to 31.9 percent for the full year.

Chanchai Trakarnudomsuk, president of Mazda Sales (Thailand) Co., told a press conference that the upward revision of its growth outlook for the entire Thai market in 2017 is attributable to improved market conditions since early this year.

The company also revised its own sales forecast this year from the earlier projected 50,000 vehicles to 51,000, buoyed largely by the robust sales of the Mazda 2 compact car launched this year.

Mazda sold 23,893 vehicles in the first half, up 12.9 percent from a year earlier, attributing the growth to the launch of four new models during the period, including the Mazda 2. (NNA/Kyodo)