Thailand's new vehicle market expanded by 3.7% to 88,097 units in May from 84,965 units in the same month last year, according to wholesale data compiled by the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI).

This was a sharp slowdown from the more than 10% growth seen in the first four months of the year and came as business and consumer sentiment continued to weaken.

Economic growth slowed in the first quarter of the year to 2.8% year on year compared with 3.6% in the fourth quarter of 2018, due mainly to weaker private consumption and investment growth and declining exports.

Vehicle sales in the first five months of the year were still 9.1% higher at 437,722 compared with 401,264 units a year earlier.

Sales of pickup based vehicles continued to grow strongly in May, by 8.9% to 44,102 units, while sales of passenger cars rose by 1.3% to 33,580 units and SUV sales declined by over 18% to 6,125 units.

Sales of commercial vehicles, excluding pickup-based vehicles, jumped by over 33% to 5,100 units. 

Toyota sales increased by over 10% to 29,337 last month, according to separate industry sources, while Isuzu sales increased 9.2% to 15,651 units, Honda 11,224 units (+7.7%), Mitsubishi Motors 7,308 units (+6.2%), Mazda 4,178 units (-29.0%); Nissan 5,385 units (-1.0%); and Ford 4,650 (-11.6%).