Thailand's new vehicle market rebounded strongly in December 2020, with sales rising by over 7% to 95,636 units from 89,285 units in the same month of the previous year, according to wholesale data compiled by the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI).

While the rebound came against weak year-earlier sales, the vehicle market had become much more stable in the last few months. Day-to-day domestic economic activity in the country had largely returned to normal after the government eased social and business restrictions towards the end of the second quarter as the threat of COVID-19 receded. 

The economy was still under significant pressure from weak private consumption and investment, however, while business and consumer confidence remained weak. The travel and tourism sector remained depressed due to restrictions on foreign tourism. GDP fell by 6.4% in the third quarter following a more than 12% decline in the second quarter. Export demand also came under renewed pressure in the fourth quarter with strict lockdowns having been re-imposed in many key overseas markets. 

Over the full year, total vehicle sales declined by 21.4% to 792,146 units from 1,007,552 units in 2019, with the local media reporting private passenger vehicle sales fell by 31% to 274,789 units; patrol vehicles 68,705 (-2.2%); pickup trucks 364,887 (-15.5%); pickup-based passenger vehicles 44,576 (-26.3%);  and other vehicles 39,189 (-16.2%).

Vehicle production in the country fell by over 29% to 1.42m units last year, while exports fell by over 30% to 735,842 units.

Motorcycle sales fell by almost 12% to 1,516,096 units, according to the association.