New vehicle sales in Thailand increased by 11% to 72,902 units in July, from 65,672 units a year earlier, according to data released by the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI).

The July increase follows a weak second quarter, as key Japanese manufacturers struggled to meet demand in the wake of the devastating earthquake and tsunami in March.

Cumulative sales for the seven-month period increased by 19.5% to 504,914 units, compared with 435,880 units in the same period of 2010, thanks mainly to strong growth in the first quarter.

Vehicle production increased by just 1% to 147,236 units in July, however, bringing the cumulative seven-month output to 957,843 units – up by just 4.7% year-on-year. The FTI expects vehicle output to increase by 17% in the third quarter to 510,000 units, as the Japanese supply industry continues to restore capacity.

Tony Pugliese