Thai auto market down 10.5% in October

October was a bad month for the Thai automobile industry with sales of only 51,390, down by 10.5% on sales in October 2005.

Despite the drop in overall sales, passenger car sales were actually up, finding growth of 13.7% from sales of 14,860 for the month. But the Thai automotive industry owes it's success almost entirely to the sales of 1-ton-pickup trucks, and this is where the big losses were. A mere 33,484 units were sold in October, which is down by over 18%.

Commercial vehicle sales - the majority of which are made up of pickup trucks - felt the pinch, with 36,530 unit sales, a drop of 17.6%.

The figures are compiled from data provided by Toyota Motor Thailand and Tri Petch Isuzu Sales, and suggest the reasons for the decline in sales is down to a combination of the slow economy and the flooding in many parts of Thailand over the period.

Whatever the reasons, the dependence of the industry on pickup truck sales is once again exposed, when even strong double-figure growth in the passenger segment is completely nullified by a blip in pickup sales.

Top 5 brands for October 2006:

 
Manufacturer
Sales (units)
Market Share
1
Toyota
23,949
46.60%
2
Isuzu
12,922
25.15%
3
Honda
4,112
8%
4
Chevrolet
2,519
4.9%
5
Nissan
2,347
4.57%

Top sales January-October 2006:

Total sales for the first 10 months of 2006 reached 539,839 units, down almost 4 percent on the same period last year.

 
Manufacturer
Sales (units)
Market Share
1
Toyota
227,829
42.20%
2
Isuzu
136,701
25.32%
3
Honda
52,888
9.80%

Toyota Motor Thailand executive vice president Vudhigorn Suriyachantananant (there's a name) believes that auto sales this year would fail to reach the forecast of 690,000 units by six or seven percent.

Reasons for the drop in sales has been blamed on higher gasoline and diesel prices, and high interest rates.