AUTO INDUSTRY NEWS

Thailand 2015 auto sales down 9.3%, further decline expected for 2016

Thailand 2015 auto sales down 9.3%, further decline expected for 2016 image

Text: Martin Aguilar / Photos: Brent Co | posted February 17, 2016 07:51

Thailand auto sales expect to drop to 720,000 units for 2016, 10% lower than 2015

Auto sales in Thailand slid by 9.3-percent to 799,594 units in 2015 from 881,832 units in 2014. Thailand's recent automotive sales slump began with the lifting of the Thai government's 'first-time car buyer' subsidy.

The country has also been on an economic downturn after prolonged political unrest from late 2013, which eventually led to a coup d'état in 2014. A combination of a weakened global economy and the Chinese economic meltdown last year has further affected sales. A new carbon tax scheme favoring fuel efficient and low emission vehicles imposed by the government is expected to further slow down auto sales for 2016 as it increased the prices of several vehicle models.

Initially, the FTI adjusted its forecast for the 2015 Thailand car sales to 850,000 from 950,000 units. The automotive sales decline did not come as a surprise as the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) announced in August of 2015 that its sales target of 850,000 cars was unlikely to be achieved.

Leading Thailand's automotive sales is Toyota with 266,005 units, an 18.7-percent decrease. Despite the company's lower sales volume, Toyota still sits on top with a notable 33.3-percent market share.

Isuzu finished in second with 144,295 unit sales, a 10-percent decrease. Isuzu is Toyota's closest rival in 2015 with 18-percent market share. Both automakers dominate Thailand's LCV sales with their Hilux and D-Max pickups.

Entering the third spot is Honda with 112,178 unit sales. Compared to the top two automakers in Thailand, Honda registered a 5.3-percent increase last year. Honda ended 2015 with 14-percent market share driven by its primarily passenger car lineup.

The FTI projects that Thailand's automotive sales will decline further this year by nearly 10-percent.

Automotive sales in Thailand peaked last 2012 posting over 1.4 million units, an 80.9-percent increase driven by the first-time car buyer government subsidy which aimed to make country the "Detroit of Asia".