Thailand new vehicle sales continued to decline in October 2023, by 9% to 58,963 units from 64,618 a year earlier, according to the latest wholesale data released by the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI).

The data excluded some key brands like BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

The vehicle market has been in decline since the fourth quarter of last year after an initial rebound from the covid pandemic.

Economic growth continued to slow in the third quarter, to 1.5% year on year from 2.2% in the first half of the year, despite a rebound in the tourism sector.

The central bank unexpectedly raised its benchmark interest rate by 0.25% to 2.5% in September to help support the baht, putting further pressure on domestic consumers and businesses.

Domestic vehicle sales in the first 10 months of 2023 declined 7.5% to 645,833 units from 698,305 units a year earlier, driven lower, unusually, by particularly weak demand for pickup trucks.

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By GlobalData

Sales of battery electric vehicles surged eightfold to 56,119 units, helped by the recent entry of Chinese models with BYD accounting for a third of segment sales year to date.

Sales of hybrid vehicles rose 42% to 71,276 units year to date, though sales of plug ins slipped 2% to 1,738 units, while motorcycle sales increased 6% to 1,581,316 units.

Last month, FTI cut its full year domestic vehicle market forecast further to 800,000 units from 850,000 in response to the continued sales decline but increased its estimate for battery electric vehicle (BEV) sales to 60,000-70,000 units from an earlier forecast of 40,000 driven by Chinese new model launches.

Vehicle production rose just slightly to 1,683,439 units YTD, underpinned by a 16% rise in exports to 927,625 units as domestic vehicle manufacturers fulfilled overseas order backlogs following last year’s supply chain shortages.