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Thailand’s Auto Sales Forecast To Continue Falling This Year

Thailand’s Automotive Sales Forecast To Continue Falling This Year

Thailand’s car manufacturing target for 2024 may be downgraded as production continues to decline, with a sluggish economy affecting automotive sales, according to the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI).

The country’s automotive sales is expected to continue dipping this year. Earlier this year, the federation set the production target of 1.9 million cars, a year-on-year rise of 3.15%, of which 1.15 million will be for export and 750,000 for domestic sales. Last month, total car manufacturing decreased by 11% to 104,667 units, especially in the pickup segment, which plunged 45.9%, while the passenger car segment fell by 5%.

Surapong Paisitpatanapong, Vice-Chairman of the FTI and spokesman for its Automotive Industry Club attributed the fall to a weak economy and banks’ tightening of car loan criteria to avoid non-performing loans. During January-April, car production dove by 17% year-on-year to 518,790 units, and auto sales and exports fell by 23.9% and 3.6% year-on-year to 210,494 units and 340,685 units, respectively.

In March 2024, the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI)’s Automotive Industry Club’s spokesperson, Surapong Paisitpattanapong disclosed Thailand manufactured 142,102 cars in January, down 12.46% year on year. Production of pickup trucks for domestic sales contracted 50.89% year on year, while that of passenger vehicles for domestic sales went down 14.68% year on year, he added.

Automotive sales in January were recorded at 54,814 units, down 16.42% year on year. Sales of pickup trucks, usually the top seller, totalled only 14,864 units sold, down 43.47% year on year. Meanwhile, the sales of PPV (pickup passenger vehicle) also contracted 43.86% year on year due to the lack of new models released, while its market shares were also partly taken away by affordable SUVs.

“Buyers are facing stricter loan criteria as financial institutes are using the measure to ward off risks from rising household debts,” said Surapong.

Other factors affecting automotive sales include several months’ delay of budget disbursement under the budget bill for fiscal 2024, which has resulted in delayed investment, decreased spending, and a slowdown in economic expansion since the last quarter of 2023. Exports of Thai-made vehicles contracted slightly in January to 86,716 units, down 0.08% year on year. The main reason was the lack of space on cargo ships heading to Asia, Africa and North America, Surapong explained.


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