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Thai auto sales drop 24% as virus saps spending power

Apr 13. 2020
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By THE NATION

Sales in the Thai auto market fell 24 percent in the first quarter of this year, as experts forecast further a bigger drop in demand for cars and trucks unless the Covid-19 crisis ends soon.

Total automobile sales in 2020’s first quarter stood at 200,959, a drop of 24 percent compared to the same period in 2019.

The monthly sales track the deepening virus crisis, with 71,688 autos sold in January, 68,271 sold in February, and 61,000 sold March. April sales are expected to dip below 60,000.

A source in the auto business said that the domestic auto market would contract by 20 to 30 per cent if the Covid-19 crisis was not resolved in a short period. “If the crisis can be ended fast, the market will recover by the end of this year,” he said.

Thailand’s automobile production in 2020 was forecast to reach 2 million, but has been cut to 1.4 to 1.5 million because of the Covid-19 crisis, the Automotive Industry Club’s president, Kovit Wongkolkitsilp, said.

Meanwhile Wanlop Triruk-ngam, Suzuki Motor (Thailand)’s executive director of sales and marketing, said the virus has lowered people’s spending power. Some of them had postponed orders for new cars, while financial institutions have been getting strict when it comes to granting loans to buy autos.

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