Thailand's new vehicle market fell by close to 33% to 58,013 units in June 2020 from strong year earlier sales of 86,048 units, according to wholesale data compiled by the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI).

This followed even sharper declines in the previous two months, as large parts of the economy were under lockdown to help control the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the Thai government began to ease business and social restrictions in early May, key sectors of the economy remained under pressure, particularly those dependent on travel and tourism, and exports.

Compared with May, vehicle sales in June were up by more than 43% and the market was expected to continue improving gradually from here as the domestic economy and international trade continued to recover.

GDP shrank by 1.8% year on year in the first quarter but a much sharper decline was expected for the second quarter before the data began to improve.

Over the full year, the economy was expected to shrink by as much as 5-8%. 

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Sales of pickup based vehicles fell by almost 27% to 29,576 units in June while passenger car sales declined by just over 41% to 20,768 units and SUV sales were more than 34% lower at 4,213 units.

Sales of commercial vehicles, excluding pickup-based vehicles, fell by close to 12% to 3,456 units. 

Toyota reported an almost 54% plunge in sales to 13,345 units last month, according to separate sources; while Isuzu sales increased by just over 26% to 16,661 units; Honda 5,822 units (-52%); Mitsubishi Motors 4,002 (-46%); Nissan 3,523 units (-35%); Mazda 2,642 units (-48%); MG 2,215 (-7%); and Ford 1,728 (-51%).

Total vehicle sales in the first six months of the year were down by over 37% at 328,604 units from 523,770 units a year earlier.

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 was brought under control, from 1,007,000 units in 2019.

Vehicle production in the country fell by close to 59% to 71,704 units in June and by 43% to 606,132 units in the first six months of the year while exports were down by almost 49% at 50,049 units last month and by over 37% at 350,550 units year to date.