Car production up but pickups stall
Local automobile production rose 19% to 841,156 units in the seven months to July due to growth in both exports and domestic sales, according to Surapong Phaisitpattanapong, spokesman for the Federation of Thai Industries' automobile industry club.
Vehicle sales in July fell 12.5% year-on-year to 44,772 units after pickup truck sales plunged 32.8% to 21,290 units as consumers switched to cars to escape diesel's record-breaking price. And with E20 fuel priced cheaper than fossil gasoline, car sales jumped 27.5% year-on-year in July to 19,280 units.
However, Mr Surapong said local sales in the first seven months still exceeded those in the same period last year, up 6.6% to 366,247 units. Sales of cars were up 31.7% to 129,699 units, while pickup truck sales fell 5.5% to 203,178 units.
Despite the dip in domestic sales, automobile exports continued growing. In July, exports were up 27.10% to 71,232 units. Exports in the seven months to July rose 25.81% to 841,156 units.
The motorcycle market grew with gains in farm product prices, the government's wealth distribution policies and accelerating state budget disbursement.
Motorcycle sales in July increased 16.3% to 160,357 units, the highest monthly figure this year, resulting in total sales in the seven months up 4.75% to 1,033,000 units.
Exports of motorcycles in July jumped 40.5% to 11,914 units as a result of Kawasaki's surging exports to the United States and Europe after it relocated its production base to Thailand.
However, motorcycle assembly kit exports fell due to Thailand's trading partners raising their kit production. As a result, total kit exports in July totalled only 114,205 units, down 29.4%, while the export of motorcycle parts in July soared 47.7% to 1.7 billion baht.
In seven months, motorcycle exports were down 12.4% to 915,307 units, of which 87,150 units were fully built and 828,157 units were assembly kits.
Mr Surapong said total automotive product sales _ built vehicles, engines, motorcycles, kits and parts _ in seven months rose 32% to 331.36 billion baht.