Thai Vehicle Sales Figures for February Still Poor

Auto sales in Thailand were 30.7 percent in February than the same month last year. This is the ninth consecutive month of decline and the largest drop since June 2008. Although things are looking quite grim, there is expectation that things will pick up at the end of March when the Bangkok International Motor Show kicks off.

According to figures compiled by Toyota, Total car and truck sales were just over 34,000 units in February, with the commercial and pickup sales being the hardest hit, falling 38.1 percent and 37.3 percent respectively. Passenger cars sales fell 16.6 percent, after a 10 percent fall in January.

With the introduction of new models at the Bangkok Motor Show, there is some reason to expect things to improve slightly in April. Toyota believes that consumers are delaying their purchasing decisions.

One possible reason for delay was the possibility of a reduction in excise tax as requested by the auto industry. The auto makers believed that reducing tax would help strengthen sales, and they argued that it would save jobs. The government turned down the request.

Now that the plea is off the table it is possible it will allow some consumers to go ahead with planned purchases, even though the decision will not lead to any savings.

Regardless, it has been a very poor start to the year for Thai sales, and with few exceptions (Honda) the whole industry is suffering. Mitsubishi and GM (Chevrolet) have both cut jobs and production in Thailand due to reduced demand.