The country’s auto sales drop has now reached 24 continuous months in April, according to the Federation of Thai Industries, and also with business sentiment at a seven-month low.
Southeast Asia’s second-biggest economy finally ended its political crisis when last year a military coup assumed formal power, but the economy has failed to gain traction because of numerous other woes. With low commodity prices, a large draught and exports, manufacturing, domestic spending and investment remaining weak has hurt the automotive industry of the nation, which accounts for around 10 percent of the economy. Thailand is also a major regional vehicle production and export hub for the global automakers – but internal sales in April slumped 26.2 percent from the same period the year before and were falling 15.3 percent for the first four months of the year, according to FTI figures.
Surapong Paisitpattanapong, spokesman of the FTI’s Auto Industry Club, added that previous predictions concerning the auto sales in the country this year are unlikely to be met, with revisions having them at 850,000-900,000 units instead of the previous pledge of 950,000 autos, if the government doesn’t intervene to increase investments and spending. “The target is likely to missed, but that will depend on the pace of government investment spending,” he commented. The internal Thai auto sales have been falling since May 2013, after a government first-car subsidy scheme lifted them by 81 percent in 2012. Afterwards, as the incentives ended that year, sales dropped 7.7 percent in 2013 and fell 33.7 percent last year.