It’s going to be a hat-trick of Thai auto sales topping one million units, if the optimism of carmakers based in the kingdom comes true. They are predicting that car sales will reach the 1m mark in 2020, which will be the third straight year total industry volume has hit the mark, Bangkok Post reports.
While the car market has contracted for five months in a row since June, year-to-date figures for the first 10 months of the year stood at 838,968 units, which is 0.7% up from the same period in 2018, according to the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI). The auto club says that sales from the last two months of the year will push the TIV past the 1m mark. Last year, the final tally was 1.04 million units.
Chanchai Trakarnudomsuk, president of Mazda’s Thai arm, said the domestic market in 2020 will be boosted by the government’s stimulus measures.
“The measures are not only for grassroots people, but also to stimulate overall economic engines such as consumption and investment. The central bank’s measures to control auto loan approvals from financial institutions will be postponed from a tentative plan to take effect in early 2020, so there is no worry for the lending sector,” he said.
His counterpart at Mitsubishi, Morikazu Chokki, sounds less positive, but is also projecting over 1m sales in 2020. “When the economy slows down, the car market performs in the same direction. The contraction is not only in Thailand, but also other countries globally, pressured by trade war tensions. We expect Thai GDP in the second half of 2019 to bottom out, but overall 2020 sentiment is hard to predict,” he said.
Tri Petch Isuzu Sales VP Takeshi Kazahara said that 2020 Thai car sales will decrease slightly from this year because of unpredictable factors such as trade disputes, the US presidential election, Brexit, Hong Kong’s political turmoil, the strong Thai baht and the country’s tepid exports.
“The positive sentiment for Thailand is the stable political movement, while the government is trying to launch stimulus measures for the agricultural and property sectors,” he said, adding that the Land of Smiles’ “big picture” is still better than in other countries, so the current sluggish car market is not a crisis.
What the Post‘s report did not mention is the stimulus from all-new eco car models such as the Honda City and Nissan Almera, both sporting clear new designs and downsized turbo engines.