Thailand's new vehicle market has started 2019 on the front foot, with sales rising by 17.3% in January to 78,061 units from 66,545 units in the same month last year, according to data compiled by the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI).

The continuing market growth reflects buoyant economic activity in the country, with GDP growth at 3.7% year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2018 from a revised 3.2% in the third quarter – driven by strong private consumption and investment growth. Full-year GDP growth averaged 4.1% in 2018, slightly better than the 4.0% recorded in 2017.

Toyota's sales jumped by over 56% to 26,715 units last month; while Isuzu posted a 3.9% sales increase to 12,704 units; Honda 9,290 (+2.0%); Mitsubishi Motors 6,875 (+17.0%); Nissan 5,315(+10.9%); Mazda 5,247(+15.6%); and Ford 4,147 (-16.5%).

Vehicle production rose by 8.1% to 179,595 units in January, driven by a 15.4% increase in production for the local market to 78,533 units while exports were 0.6% lower at 81,583 units.

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