Auto sales in Thailand were 30.7 percent in February than the same month last year. This is the ninth consecutive month of decline and the largest drop since June 2008. Although things are looking quite grim, there is expectation that things will pick up at the end of March when the Bangkok International Motor Show kicks off.
Although most automakers seem to be trying hard to keep a positive attitude in the face of a dramatic slow down in the industry, few are as optimistic as Hyundai Thailand. The company is eyeing 63% growth this year, and is already looking forward to introducing new cars.
Of course Hyundai can realise this 63% growth by achieving sales of just 1,500 units this year, compared to about 900 units in 2008. Hyundai's big seller is the H1, a people mover/VAN that offers good value for money despite coming into the country in CBU (completely built up) form. Hyundai will introduce a freshened up version of the H1, to be kitted out with some extra equipment, at the upcoming Bangkok Motor Show.
The situation for the global auto industry is looking increasingly bleak, and here in Thailand things are no different, with the industry posting sales figures for January that show a drop in sales of almost 30% when compared to January 2008.
Passenger car sales are down by about 10% which isn't actually all that bad. But commercial vehicle sales dipped almost 40% to just 18,558 units.
Nissan could be the first automaker to introduce its Thai eco car. According to the Bangkok Post, Nissan could have its car to market as soon as October 2009.
It still isn't clear which car Nissan will use for the project, but the March seems likely candidate. The March, also known as the Micra, is currently a Japanese/European car, but the 2010 March (due out near the end of 2009), is to be more of a global model, and this would make it ideal for the eco car project.
GM/Holden is to take advantage of a Federal Government AUS$6 billion car plan, and build a four-cylinder car in Australia starting in 2010. The car is to be based on the Chevrolet Cruze, a global car that GM hopes will help to turn things around.
Recently the "Global Economic Melt Down", "financial crisis", or whatever you want to call it, has been taking its toll on the motor industry. While some automakers are attempting to seek government support to stay alive, all automakers are scrambling to find ways to cut costs and save money.
Unfortunately for fans of motor sport, this means less money is being directed towards motor racing. Honda's decision to withdraw from F1 set the scene. Up until then, much of the focus was on GM, Ford, and Chrysler. Honda's reason was simple: money.
Honda believes that there is strong demand for Thai cars on the export market, despite the recent global slump in sales that has left the US Auto industry looking very fragile.
Honda Automobiles (Thailand) Co. Ltd., has seen export orders drop of 10 percent, due mostly to a decrease in demand from Japan and Australia. But, Honda still thinks that there are plenty of buyers out there for both completely built-up (CBU) cars, as well as for kits for assembly in the world market.
Toyota Motor Thailand is currently lobbying the Thai government, seeking a lifting of import duty for CKD parts to be used in the assembly of hybrid vehicles in Thailand.
This actually comes as little surprise, since Toyota are to start assembly of the Camry Hybrid next year. Toyota are seeking to have the 30-40% duties removed, to allow them to price the Camry Hybrid under THB 2 million.
The Chinese made Geely (JEE-lee) CK has made its way to Thailand via the Yontrakit group, the Thai import company that has traditionally brought in luxury and premium models. Recently, the company has switched to bargain basement offerings like the Naza Forza, and now the Geely CK.
The Geely CK aims to offer a low-cost alternative to the Toyota Vios and Honda City. Although this might look like a credible option at first glance, the reality is that this car should not be on the road at all, and I believe that Yontrakit are going to regret the decision to bring it to Thailand.
General Motors Thailand will temporally suspend operations in Thailand for December and the first three weeks of January due to a slump in demand. GM, the worlds largest automaker recently begged for a government bailout package in the US as it suffers from the effects of the global financial crisis.
The shutdown in Thailand obviously won't improve matters, with some 2,000 employees sitting at home yet still being paid 75% of their salaries.
Bangkok, Thailand – September 1, 2008 – Mazda Sales Thailand launched great customer appreciation “M Day” campaign to ignite the passive automobile market over the recent months. The once-a-year campaign, available at 94 Mazda showrooms nationwide, offers more than baht 100,000 worth of customer special offer. For BT-50 offers one Bt 50,000 fuel coupon, a free 1-year full coverage insurance and 24-hour roadside assistance service for up to 3 years.
Automotive giant, GM, is set to invest up to $445 million in Thailand to update it's current plant, to produce the next generation Colorado pick-up truck, and a brand new facility to manufacture a new range of diesel engines locally.
The engines will be for use in the new Colorado, and will also be exported. The plant is due to begin production in 2010, and with 340 workers is said will have an annual manufacturing capacity of over 100,000 units a year.
According to a recent posting on antara.co.id, Indonesia might have reason to worry about the impending flood of "eco-car" models coming out of Thailand.
Bambang Trisulo, Chairman of Indonesia`s Motor Vehicle Industries Association, believes that given the high production volumes required by the program, many of the cars will be exported and this could seriously threaten the Indonesian industry.