New vehicle sales in Thailand fell by 9% to 71,716 units in November 2021 from 79,177 units in the same month of last year, according to wholesale data compiled by the Federation of Thai Industries.

The market was struggling to recover from the social and business restrictions introduced earlier this year to contain the coronavirus Delta variant which were gradually eased from September.

Economic output declined by 0.3% year on year in the third quarter after rebounding by 7.6% in the second quarter with continued strong export growth offset by a 3.2% drop in private consumption.

The government had introduced a number of measures to help stimulate the domestic economy, including soft loans and tax relief for small and medium companies, funding for local infrastructure projects, poverty relief and job creation programmes.

Bank of Thailand had kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged at a historic low of 0.5% throughout the year to help stimulate domestic spending.

Vehicle sales in the first 11 months of the year were down 4% to 668,520 units from 696,510 units a year earlier, with a strong second quarter rebound offset by declining sales in the second half of the year.

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The FTI was optimistic 2021 domestic sales would exceed the 750,000 units it forecast earlier in the year with the recent Bangkok Motor Show expected to generate additional short term buying interest.

Its forecast for next year is for 800,000-850,000 sales, depending on supply chain constraints and coronavirus developments.

Vehicle exports jumped 33% to 98,829 units in November with 857,887 units shipped year to date.

Vehicle production was 165,353 units last month and 1,531,337 YTD.