Thailand's new vehicle market declined in June 2019 for the first time since early 2017, by 2.1% to 86,048 units from 87,854 units in the same month last year, according to wholesale data compiled by the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI).

The market has weakened significantly since the first quarter of the year albeit compared with increasingly strong year earlier volumes.

Economic growth has also slowed sharply this year, with weaker domestic consumption and investment growth and declining exports beginning to affect consumer and business sentiment.

The FTI also pointed to stricter lending criteria by banks as one of the reasons behind the recent market weakness as concerns continued to rise about the level of household debt.

Toyota's sales increased by 4.1% to 28,888 last month, according to separate industry sources while Isuzu's sales increased by 2.1% to 13,215 units; Honda 12,142 units (+15.1%); Mitsubishi Motors 7,375 units (+2.8%); Mazda 5,075 units (-24.3%); Nissan 5,461 units (-14.3%); and Ford 3,515 (-29.7%).

Vehicle sales in the first half of the year were nonetheless 7.1% higher at 523,770 units compared with 489,118 in the same period of last year and the local auto industry expects the market to rise by close to 2.5% to 1.05m units this year.

Vehicle exports rose by 2.4% to 97,575 units in June but were down by 0.4% at 559,861 units year to date.

Output fell 8.5% to 172,878 units last month but was up 0.9% to 1.066m in the first six months of the year.