New vehicle sales in Thailand jumped by over 20% to 79,043 units in August, from 65,724 units sold a year earlier, according to data gathered by Toyota Motor Thailand.

Improving inventories helped drive growth during the month, with Toyota and Honda in particular recovering from the devastation in Japan in March. Sales of passenger cars increased by over 26% to 35,545 units, while commercial vehicle sales were up by close to 16% at 43,498 units – including a 15% rise in pickup truck sales to 37,309 units.

In the first eight months of the year, new vehicle sales increased by almost 20% to 583,958 units – from 488,098 units in the same period of the previous year, with passenger cars sales growing by 24% and commercial vehicles 16%.

Domestic economic growth this year has been underpinned by rising incomes, low employment and improving availability of credit. The vehicle industry expects the market to be lifted further by the introduction of first-time buyer incentives, which have yet to be announced by the government.

Toyota led the market in the first eight months of 2011 with 216,404 sales, followed by Isuzu 105,144 units and Honda 60,879 units.

Tony Pugliese