Thai sales fall 42% in May

By just-auto.com editorial team | 19 June 2020

The Thai new vehicle market fell by over 42% to 40,418 units in May 2020 from strong year earlier sales of 88,097 units, according to wholesale data compiled by the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI).

That followed a 56% plunge in April, which was expected to be the low point of the COVID-19 health crisis with the economy on full lock-down that month.

The government began to ease business and social restrictions in early May, followed by a second phase of easing in mid May which allowed most domestic business to reopen.

Compared with April, vehicle sales were up 34% in May and the market was expected to continue to improve gradually from there.

But significant economic damage has already taken place with first-quarter GDP shrinking by 1.8% year-on-year, to be followed by an even sharper decline in the second quarter as domestic consumption, tourist arrivals and exports continue to plunge.

A gradual recovery is expected to take place from the third quarter albeit with the economy widely expected to shrink by as much as 5% over the full year.

Sales of pickup based vehicles fell by 47.5% to 23,137 units in May while passenger car sales declined by just over 65% to 11,733 units and SUV sales were almost 63% lower at 2,293 units.

Sales of commercial vehicles, excluding pickup based vehicles, fell by over 36% to 3,255 units.

Toyota reported an almost 54% plunge in sales to 13,585 units last month, according to separate sources, while Isuzu sales dropped by just over 35% to 10,130, Honda 4,178 (-63%), Mitsubishi Motors 2,767 (-62%), Nissan 2,671 (-50%), Mazda 1,602 (-62%), MG 1,402 (-38%) and Ford 1,390 (-70%).

Total vehicle sales in the first five months of the year were down by 38.2% at 270,591 units from 437,722 in the same period of 2019.

The FTI cut its full year sales forecast to 500,000-700,000 units for 2020 depending on how quickly the COVID19 pandemic is brought under control, from 1,007,000 sales in 2019.

Local vehicle production fell by just over 69% to 56,035 units in May and by 40% to 534,428 in the first five months of the year, while exports fell by almost 69% to 29,894 last month and by over 66% to 300,501 year to date.

The federation warned full year output could drop below 1m units, less than half last year's levels, with local vehicle manufacturers now offering early retirement packages to workers.