New vehicle sales in Thailand increased just slightly to 64,618 units in October 2022 from 64,462 units a year earlier, according to the latest wholesale data released by the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI).

The sharp growth slowdown followed months of strong rebounds from weak year earlier level with deliveries also lifted by improved supplies of semiconductors allowing some vehicle manufacturers to fulfil significant order backlogs.

The domestic economy continued to be underpinned by the all important tourism sector after travel restrictions were lifted earlier in the year.

GDP grew by a better than expected 4.5% year on year in the third quarter of 2022 after growing 2.5% in the second quarter. Bank of Thailand had raised its benchmark interest rate by just 50 basis points to 1% so far this year despite high inflation levels, mainly to protect the highly indebted Thai consumer.

Domestic vehicle sales in the first 10 months of the year increased 17% to 698,305 units from 596,393 units in the same period of 2021, driven mainly by strong demand for pickup trucks.

Sales of the Isuzu D-Max surged by over 30% to 12,300 units last month and by 24% to 127,450 units year to date, followed by the Toyota Hilux with an 8% increase to 9,560 and 14% to 112,200 units respectively. Together these two models accounted for over one third of total domestic vehicle sales so far this year.

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By GlobalData

Vehicle production increased 10% to 170,717 units in October and 12% to 1,534,754 units YTD while exports increased 16% to 94,228 units last month and 5% to 800,672 units YTD.

The FTI last month said it expected domestic sales to increase 12% to 850,000 units in 2022 but pointed out the market could reach 900,000 units if semiconductor supplies continued to improve.