Thailand Autos Report Q4 2012
BMI believes the outlook is bright for the Thai automotive industry as we enter the final quarter of 2012. The industry has bounced back strongly from the damage caused by the heavy flooding across Q411, which closed several domestic production lines and also caused extensive damage to supply chains across Asia. The sector now looks set for strong growth across our forecast period to 2016.
New vehicle sales remain robust, increasing by a stellar 81% year-on-year (y-o-y) during July 2012 to reach a new monthly record of 131,646 units, according to data released by the Federation of Thai Industries. Cumulative sales for the January-July 2012 period increased by some 46% y-o-y to 736,528 units. This puts the industry well on course to hit BMI’s sales target of 1.3mn units for the full year, with an upside revision to this figure now increasingly likely as domestic demand remains robust. Further support to new car sales should come from the government’s decision in August 2012 to relax the terms of an ongoing tax rebate scheme. The scheme – which allows first-time car buyers to reclaim up to THB100,000 in excise taxes from their purchase of domestically-produced cars valued at up to THB1mn and with engine capacity of up to 1,500cc – was originally due to finish at the end of 2012. This meant that new car buyers had to both take delivery of a new vehicle and file for their tax rebate by end- December.
Under the revised regulations, buyers can now order their new car in 2012 and qualify for the tax rebate under the scheme, but can now take delivery after the original December 31 2012 deadline. The move is intended to help producers meet the strong domestic demand for vehicles under the scheme and follows an earlier protest by manufacturers, who stated they would be unable to deliver all the 425,000 cars so far ordered under the scheme by the original deadline. BMI welcomes the relaxation of the terms for the tax rebate scheme which, when coupled with the likelihood of further interest rate cuts by the Bank of Thailand (BMI’s Macroeconomic team is calling for a 0.25% cut in rates, to 2.75% before year-end), will ensure a strong end to 2012 for monthly new car sales.
Strong sales are also aiding domestic production levels. Domestic vehicle output grew by 44.5% y-o-y, to 212,727 units, in July. Cumulative seven-month production totalled 1.27mn units, up by 32.6% y-o-y. Rounding out the upbeat sentiment surrounding Thai autos at the present time, exports increased by 25.1% y-o-y to 94,838 units in July and by 15.7% to 551,707 units for the January-July period. For now, BMI maintains its full-year production forecast of 2.2mn units for 2012, with risks again very much to the upside. Barring any unforeseen circumstances (such as a repeat of the devastating flooding which hit the country in Q411), the Thai auto industry looks set for a record-breaking sales and production performance in 2012.
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