Thailand's new vehicle market continued to surge forward in May with sales rising by 27.9% to 84,965 units from 66,422 units in the same month of last year, according to data released by the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI).
Toyota's sales jumped by almost 49% to 26,630 units last month, followed by Isuzu with a 17.9% rise to 14,336 units; Honda 10,420 (+4.1%); Mitsubishi 6,882 (+33.4%); Mazda 5,881 (+48.4%); Nissan 5,438 (+14.5%); and Ford 5,260 (+24.6%).
Sales in the first five months of the year increased by 18% to 401,264 units compared with 340,179 units in the same period of last year, including a 17.4% increase in pickup truck sales to 171,744 units and a 16% rise in passenger car sales to 153,179 units.
The Thai economy has continued to strengthen this year with government data showing first quarter GDP growth at 4.8% – driven by rising domestic consumption, investment and export growth.
Replacement vehicle demand has also increased sharply in the last year as most owners of vehicles bought under the previous government's first time buyer incentive programme have been able to claim tax rebates equivalent to up to 10% of the purchase cost of their vehicle after a five year lock in period.
Around 1.4m vehicles were bought under this programme over just over two years, many of which were pickup trucks, lifting the market to an unsustainable 1.43m units in 2012.
Vehicle exports increased by 9.7% to 98,875 units in May with demand rebounding strongly in key Middle East and Latin American markets, and were up by 5.3% to 466,676 units in the first five months of the year.
Vehicle production increased 13.9% to 193,190 units in May and by 11.9% to 867,599 units year to date.
The FTI has revised upwards its full year forecast for the domestic market to 960,000 units from 900,000.