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Thailand’s Automobile Production in 2019 Exceeds 2 Million Units for Second Consecutive Year

Thailand’s automobile production decreased 7.1% year-on-year in 2019 to 2.01 million units. Despite maintaining volume over 2 million units for the second consecutive year, production fell below the previous year’s level for the first time in five years. Production for the domestic market dropped 4.7% to 977,000 units and for export declined 9.2% to 1.03 million units. Domestic sales were weak due to the tightening of automobile loans. Meanwhile exports declined due to the slowdown of global economic growth and the appreciation of the Thai currency which made exports more expensive.

Both passenger vehicles and commercial vehicles dropped below the previous year’s level. Passenger vehicles fell 9.0% to 805,000 units of which Eco Car program-compliant vehicles declined 9.1% to 353,000 units. Commercial vehicles decreased 5.8% to 1.2 million units. One-ton pickup trucks, which account for over 50% of all automobile production, went down 5.9% to 1.17 million units.

Looking at production by manufacturer, apart from BMW and Hino, all other automakers declined. Market-leader Toyota dropped 2.8% to 580,000 units. In the passenger car segment, Eco Car program-compliant models, the Yaris and Yaris ATIV, increased 11.2% to 69,000 units. The 2,001cc and above-class increased 4.4-fold to 17,000 units thanks to the fully-redesigned Camry launched in October 2018. In contrast, 2,000cc and below-class passenger cars dropped nearly 30%. One-ton pickup trucks inched up 0.2% to 393,000 units.

Mitsubishi, ranked second in 2019, decreased 8.5% to 352,000 units, production of passenger cars going down 5.0% and one-ton pickup trucks declining 10.5%. Isuzu, ranked third in 2019, dropped 3.1% to 252,000 units. The automaker’s rate of decline was mild thanks to the fully-redesigned D-Max launched October 2019.

At the beginning of 2020, the Federation of Thai Industries forecast that automobile production will remain around 2 million units. Although FTI expects production exceed 2 million units for the third consecutive year, domestic sales is forecast to drop below 1 million units in 2020. In addition, Mazda will transfer production for Australia from Thailand to Japan, and GM will withdraw from production and sales in Thailand so it is likely that production will not reach 2 million units in 2020.

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