New vehicle sales in Thailand increased by 17.8% year-on-year to 67,283 units in April, according to data compiled by Toyota Motor (Thailand). This brings the year-to-date total to 305,902 units – up 36.6% compared with the same period of 2010.

Passenger car sales increased by 17.8% to 30,953 units last month, driven by strong demand for small, fuel-efficient cars. Commercial vehicle increased by 17.7% to 36,330 units, thanks to strong demand for pickup trucks. Sales of these models rose by 20.8% to 31,272 units, reflecting strong economic activity and buoyant sentiment.

Vehicle production in April fell by 15.2% year-on-year to 89,179 units and by 48.2% compared with the previous month due to shortages of components imported from Japan – particularly electronic parts such as engine control units (ECUs).

Exports were also cut by 8.7% year-on-year to 52,191, and by 39.1% month-on-month, as Japanese component manufacturers struggled to recover from the devastating earthquake in March.