Domestic auto sales are expected to rise next year to at least a million units after a sharp decline in 2014, according to Toyota Motor Thailand (TMT) president Kyoichi Tanada.
Tanada said during Toyota’s half-year press conference yesterday that among the positive factors enabling recuperation of the auto market was an improved economy, as well as the expected sales boost before a new excise-tax structure takes effect.
The new tax structure is based on carbon-dioxide emission levels as well as engine size, which will make automobiles more expensive.
“The launch of many new products next year will also help boost auto sales,” he said.
Toyota is participating in the second phase of the eco-car programme, after introducing the Yaris in the first phase.
Tanada predicts domestic auto sales of 920,000 units this year, down 30.9 per cent from last year’s 1.33 million.
From January to June this year, just 440,911 units were sold, plunging by 40.5 per cent.
“Passenger-car sales fell by 47.8 per cent while commercial-vehicle sales also saw a 33.8-per cent decrease,” he said.
According to Tanada, the decline was due to market balancing after the end of the government’s first-car-buyer scheme, which provided tax rebates of up to Bt100,000 for those who qualified, as well as the economic slowdown and political uncertainty during the beginning of the year.
“It became a psychological factor adversely affecting consumers’ purchasing decisions,” he said.
“Although first-half auto sales dropped by 40.5 per cent, the political situation has become more stable and there are signs of economic recovery that will help revive consumer confidence in the second half,” Tanada said.
In June, total auto sales fell by 30.4 per cent to 73,799 units compared with the corresponding month last year.