Automakers hope to see gradual recovery in 2017

Auto & Audio February 01, 2017 01:00

By The Nation

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With auto sales in Thailand declining by 3.9 per cent to 768,788 units in 2016, automakers are hoping for gradual recovery this year, thanks to several positive factors.



With auto sales in Thailand declining by 3.9 per cent to 768,788 units

in 2016, automakers are hoping for

gradual recovery this year, thanks to

several positive factors.

They include the end of the fiveyear ownership period of the First Car

Buyer scheme – which means people

can sell their cars bought under this

scheme and buy new ones – increased

government spending and the launch

of new models by various manufacturers, said 0, president of Toyota

Motor Thailand.

“This makes us foresee that 2017

auto sales in Thailand will be at the

level of 800,000 units, equivalent to

a 4.1 per cent rise,” he told journalists

at Toyota’s annual press conference

yesterday.

According to Toyota, the largest

auto company in the Kingdom, the

passenger car market is expected to

surge by almost 13 per cent this year

while a decline will be seen in the

commercial vehicle sector, which

includes 1-tonne pickup trucks and its

derivatives.

According to a sales breakdown by

Toyota, it was the top-ranked brand

in the car market last year with sales

of 87,271 units, followed by Honda

with 78,132 units, while Mazda came

a distant third with 27,375 units.

However, Honda Automobile

(Thailand) earlier this month

announced that it was the top passenger car brand with sales of 107,372

units. The difference between

Toyota’s and Honda’s figures lie in the

three Honda models – namely the

BR-V, HR-V and CR-V. While Toyota

categorises them as commercial vehicles due to their SUV homologation,

Honda argues that the three models

are cars and should be included in its

passenger car tally.

In the luxury segment, MercedesBenz maintained its leadership for

another year with sales of 11,657 units,

followed by BMW with 7,923 units.

Meanwhile, in the pickup truck

market, a strong sales boost in

December enabled Toyota to overtake arch rival Isuzu and emerge once

again as the top pickup brand with an

aggregate of 120,444 units versus

Isuzu’s 120,009 units. American

automaker Ford was third with

30,828 units sold.

Tanada said purchasing power is

not expected to grow much this year

and the economic scenario is similar

to last year. “We guess that the commercial vehicle market won’t grow

this year while the passenger car market will benefit from the engine of the

First Car Buyer ownership period,” he

said.

According to Tanada, Toyota also

exported 318,658 CBU vehicles in

2016 (down by 15 per cent) and Bt62

billion worth of OEM parts.

Due to weaker demand from the

Middle East, Toyota will be looking

for new markets such as those in AsiaOceania and Latin America, he said.