The Thai government is considering offering vehicle trade-in vouchers to help stimulate the country’s new car market, according to local reports.

The programme has been proposed by Industry Minister Suriya Jung-rungreangkit, who hopes it will be it signed off by the cabinet in the next few months after consultations with the Ministry of Finance.

Under the scheme, existing car owners would be offered vouchers worth THB100,000 (US$3,200) towards a replacement for their ageing cars. They would also be able to claim the purchase cost as a tax-deductible expense.

The Ministry of Industry also pointed to the environmental benefits of replacing older, high-polluting cars. According to the Land Transport Department, there are over three million registered cars in the country that have been in use for more than 15 years. MrSuriya expects the scheme to benefit sales of electric vehicles and low emission vehicles in particular.

The Ministry of Industry has set a target for EVs to account for 30% of the projected 2.5 million vehicles to be produced in the country by 2030, or some 750,000 units.

Under the proposals, the programme would run for five years – long enough for the local automotive industry to fully recover from the impact of the COVID19 pandemic. Vehicle sales in the first seven months of the year were down by close to 36% at 379,123 units from 588,877 units a year earlier.