Thailand's new vehicle market jumped by over 25% to 74,925 units in March 2021 after declining by 42% to 60,105 units in the same month of last year, according to wholesale data compiled by the Federation of Thai Industries.
The data exclude some significant brands, particularly commercial vehicles by Chinese and European manufacturers and also passenger vehicles sold by BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
The market last month showed signs of improvement after two months of sharp declines despite surging COVID-19 infections in the last several weeks.
The spike in infections has dampened domestic sentiment as the prospect of a quick rebound in the country's all-important travel and tourism sector, which employs over 10m people and accounts for around 11% of GDP, recedes.
The vehicle market last month was lifted by the Bangkok motor show which was held in the last week of March and in early April having been cancelled last year because of the pandemic. Historically low interest rates also helped.
Overall new vehicle sales were still down by 5.5% at 189,093 units in the first quarter from 200,064 units in the same period of last year. Last month, the FTI said it expected full year domestic sales to fall by over 5% to 750,000 units from 792,146 units in 2020.
Vehicle exports rose 16.4% year on year to 104,506 units in March, and by 1.7% to 258,108 units in the first three months of the year, while production increased by almost 11% to 162,515 units last month and by 2.7% to 465,833 units year to date.