Friday, January 25, 2013

Thailand's 2013 auto sales may fall 16%...

RIDE ASIAONE translates a press release...

BANGKOK - Thai automotive industry sales look set to drop 16 per cent in 2013, retreating from a record 2012 boosted by government subsidies, Toyota Motor Corp's Thai unit said on Monday.

The group said it expected sales to decline to 1.2 million vehicles this year, after an 80 per cent surge in 2012 fuelled by government subsidies for buyers of first cars.

Industry sales had jumped to a record 1.43 million vehicles in 2012, also boosted by pent-up demand after severe flooding in late 2011, Kyoichi Tanada, president of the Toyota Motor Thai unit, told a news conference.

"Thai auto sales this year will not fall much from last year. We think the economy will still be good, but there is no first-car scheme this year," he said.

For Toyota itself, 2013 sales are set to fall 3.1 per cent to 500,000 units, giving it a 40 per cent market share, with sales of passenger cars down 11 per cent. It aims for exports of 412,000 vehicles worth 168 billion baht this year, plus 70 billion baht of auto parts.

In 2012, its auto sales jumped 78 per cent to 516,086 vehicles, with passenger cars up 62.8 per cent.

Toyota plans to invest 12 billion baht (S$495 million) in the southeast Asian country to build a second plant at the Gateway industrial park to produce environmentally friendly cars as well as vehicles for export, Tanada said.

The plant is expected to be completed in the middle of this year, which will help boost the firm's capacity at Gateway to 300,000 units per year from 220,000.