The Bangkok Post reports that Isuzu is the first major player in the industry to forecast that the Thai vehicle market this year will exceed 500,000 units.

Tri Petch Isuzu President Goro Shintani attributed this optimism to strong pickup sales and the compact sedan rivalry which has carried vehicle sales to new heights since the 1997 financial crunch, according to the newspaper.

The Bangkok Post points out that the year is off to a strong start with sales of 77,491 units during the first two months for a 50.3% growth over the same period last year, according to data compiled by Isuzu and Toyota.

“I expect March to be a strong month too,” Mr Shintani told the Post.