Thailand’s new vehicle market jumped by over 93% to 58,132 units in April 2021, according to wholesale data compiled by the Federation of Thai Industries, after plunging by 65% to 30,109 units the same month of last year after the country imposed its first lockdown to slow the initial spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The data exclude some significant brands, particularly commercial vehicles by Chinese and European manufacturers and also passenger vehicles sold by BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
Compared with the previous month’s 74,925 units, the Thai vehicle market last month was down by over 22% as the country struggled to contain a new surge of infections. Consumer and business confidence weakened significantly in April as it looked increasingly likely that plans to gradually open the country to international tourism may be delayed further.
The Thai economy is expected to rebound in the second quarter of 2021 from low levels last year, after shrinking by just 0.5% year-on-year in the first quarter. But the government and economists have been revising down their full-year growth projections due to rising uncertainty.
Sales in the first four months of the year were up by 7.4% at 247,225 units from 230,173 units in the same period of last year. The FTI this month reconfirmed its earlier forecast of a 5% fall in full-year sales to 750,000 units from 792,146 units in 2020, but added that this depends on current COVID surge being brought under control soon.
Vehicle exports rose by 160% year-on-year to 52,880 units in April, bringing the year-to-date total to 310,988 units.