New vehicle sales in Thailand continued to rise in April 2022, by over 9% to 63,427 units after almost doubling to 58,132 units in the same month of last year, according to the latest wholesale data released by The Federation Of Thai Industries (FTI).

Economic growth strengthened to 2.2% year on year in the first quarter after contracting by 2.6% in the same period of last year, driven by strong exports and a recovery in domestic consumption as covid restrictions continued to be eased. Bank of Thailand has kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged at a historic low of 0.5% to help underpin domestic consumption.

Vehicle sales in the first four months of the year were up by almost 19% at 294,043 units compared with 247,264 units in the same period of last year, driven by strong demand for passenger cars and pickup trucks. Sales of electric vehicles (EVs) tripled to 1,232 units in this period.

Surapong Paisitpatanapong, vice-chairman and spokesman for the FTI’s automotive club, said the market this year had been supported by the government’s economic stimulus measures, the easing of covid restrictions and promotional campaigns at the recent Bangkok International Motor Show.

Vehicle exports fell by just under 2% to 58,671 units in April and by 8% to 303,821 year to date while overall production was down by almost 32% to 117,786 units in April and by 14% to 597,864 units in the four month period, which the FTI blamed in part on the continued shortage of semiconductors.

The FTI maintained full year vehicle production forecast at 1.8 million units for 2022 while domestic sales were expected to reach 900,000 units.