New vehicle sales in Thailand began to recover in January after a disastrous fourth quarter of 2011 when sales fell by almost 50% to 123,121 units as a result of the worst floods to hit the country in 50 years.

Sales in January increased 11.5% year on year to 76,246 units and by 37.8% compared with the previous month, according to the Federation of Thai Industries.

Most vehicle manufacturers and component suppliers have restored production operations and have been ramping up production. Honda Motor, with its regional production plant in Ayutthaya province underwater for over a month last year, expects production operations to restart in April.

Vehicle production was down by 4% year on year in January at 140,404 units, but up by more than 41% compared with the depressed December levels. Vehicle exports were down by over 20% at 54,191 units year on year but were up by close to 55% month on month.