Thailand's new vehicle market was little changed in May, with sales rising by 0.6% to 66,422 units from 66,019 units a year earlier, according to data released by the Federation of Thai Industries.

The vehicle market looks to be recovering from four straight years of decline, which culminated in a 4% drop to 768,788 units last year from peak levels of 1.43m units in 2012.

The market in recent months has been driven higher by a pick-up in economic activity in the country, new model launches and the end of the lock-up period for tax rebates for those who bought cars under the government's first-time buyer scheme over five years ago. 

Passenger vehicle sales increased by 4.4% to 26,151 units last month from 25,050 units a year earlier, while sales of pickup trucks and derivatives were 3.7% lower at 32,317 units from 33,549 units previously.

In the first five months of the year total vehicle sales were up by 12.4% at 340,179 units, compared with 302,565 units in the same period of last year.

At the beginning of the year the federation forecast full-year sales to rise by around 4% to 800,000 units, but it may revise upwards these estimates following the market's strong first-quarter performance.