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Auto Apocalypse: Thai Car Sales Plummet 6.1%, But Unprecedented Comeback Looms!

In the first quarter of this year, vehicle sales in Thailand experienced a 6.1% annualized decline. However, industry experts anticipate a rebound in sales for the coming months, following the successful Bangkok International Motor Show that took place from March 22 to April 2. Dealerships reported a total of 217,073 vehicle sales in Q1, marking a 6.1% dip compared to the same period in the previous year, according to Supakorn Ratanawaraha, Deputy Managing Director of Toyota Motor Thailand.

Although sales in March fell by 8.4% year on year to 79,943 units, dealers attributed the decline to consumers holding off purchases in anticipation of the 44th Bangkok International Motor Show. The event saw an impressive 42,871 vehicles being ordered, far exceeding expectations. This surge in orders is likely to reflect positively on April and May sales figures, says Supakorn.

Breaking down the March sales data, passenger car sales experienced a slight increase of 0.2% year on year to 29,835 units. On the other hand, commercial vehicle sales, including pickups, saw a 12.8% drop to 50,108 units. Furthermore, one-tonne truck sales faced a significant decline of 22.2%, totaling 36,066 units for the month.

A closer examination of the top-performing brands reveals that Toyota led the passenger car segment, with 9,953 units sold – a 13.2% year-on-year increase, and a 33.4% market share. In comparison, Honda followed behind with 7,053 units sold, marking a 15.3% decline, and a 23.6% market share. Mitsubishi ranked third, selling 1,789 units, representing a 0.6% increase and a 6.0% market share.

Isuzu dominated the commercial vehicles (including pickups) segment with sales totaling 37,328 units, despite a 22.6% decrease, they retained a market share of 44.8%. Toyota closely trailed with 32,554 units, a 23.1% decline, and a 39.1% market share. Ford, on the other hand, enjoyed a 19.6% sales growth, with 7,478 units sold and a market share of 9.0%.

Isuzu also took the lead in one-tonne truck sales with 13,523 units, a 26.4% decline but a 45.7% market share. Toyota sold 10,761 units, experiencing a larger decline of 34.3%, and secured a 36.3% market share. Meanwhile, Ford’s one-tonne truck sales went up by 17.1%, with 2,890 units sold, capturing a 9.8% market share.

In conclusion, although the Thai automobile market witnessed an overall decline in Q1, the exceptional number of orders from the recent Bangkok International Motor Show offers hope for a rebound in the coming months. With various brands vying for market share, the competition remains intense as the industry eagerly awaits the rebound.

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