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Thailand's new vehicle market declined by close to 15% to 68,883 units in August 2020 from 80,838 units in the same month of last year, according to wholesale data compiled by the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI).

That followed much sharper declines in previous months, including a 27% year on year fall in July and a more than 50% drop in the second quarter, when large parts of the economy were under lockdown to help control the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. GDP shrank by over 12% in the second quarter, reflecting falling private consumption, investment and exports.

The government began to ease business and social restrictions early in May, allowing domestic activity to begin to normalise, although key sectors of the economy are still under pressure, particularly those dependent on travel and tourism, and exports.

Sales of pickup based vehicles declined by just over 3% to 37,035 units in August and passenger car sales dropped by close to 36% to 21,300 units, while SUV sales rebounded by over 30% to 7,387 units. Sales of commercial vehicles, excluding pickup based vehicles, fell by close to 22% to 3,079 units. 

Toyota reported an almost 20% fall in sales to 21,554 units last month, according to separate sources, while Isuzu sales increased by almost 35% to 16,557 units, Honda 8,610 units (-26%), Mitsubishi Motors 4,979 (-33%), Nissan 4,116 units (-18%), Mazda 3,707 units (-8%), MG 2,745 (+45%) and Ford 2,627 (-31%).

Total vehicle sales in the first eight months of the year were down by close to 35% at 448,006 units from 685,652 a year earlier. Last month the FTI cut its full year sales forecast to between 500,000-700,000 units for 2020, depending on how quickly the COVID-19 pandemic is brought under control, from 1,007,000 units in 2019.

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By GlobalData