Thailand: Sales of commercial cars, pickups slump

Domestic sales of commercial cars and pickups slowed in May based on a variety of factors, ranging from stricter lending standards and weak purchasing power to political uncertainty, says Toyota Motor Thailand.

The trend will likely continue in June as banks maintain tougher criteria for granting loans, attributed to the high rate of household debt and a fragile economy that will take time to normalise, said the company.

Commercial car sales in May decreased by 12.4% year-on-year to 39,103 cars, while pickup sales fell 19.2% to 27,323 units.

“Banks and non-banks are concerned buyers of commercial cars and pickups cannot afford the loans,” said Suphakorn Rattanawaraha, executive vice-president of Toyota Motor Thailand.

People are delaying new car purchases because they are unsure about the domestic economy given the lengthy process involved in forming a new government, he said.

During the first five months of this year, domestic car sales dipped by 4.9% year-on-year to 341,691 units, attributed to stricter loan criteria for potential buyers, said the Federation of Thai Industries.

Toyota said Isuzu commanded the largest market share at 34%, though its commercial car sales fell by 15.6% year-on-year to 13,281 units.

In second place was Toyota with a market share of 33.3%. Its sales decreased by 20.6% to 13,030 cars.

Ford had a 7.7% market share and its sales increased by 32.1% to 2,993 units.

In the pure pickup and pickup passenger vehicle segment, Isuzu claimed 44.4% of the market and its sales decreased by 14.5% year-on-year to 12,131 units.

Toyota had a 37.3% market share and posted a sales decline of 26.6% to 10,205 units. Ford, with an 11% market share, reported a sales uptick of 32.1% year-on-year to 2,993 units.

According to Toyota, total sales of passenger cars in the domestic market increased by 29.4% year-on-year to 25,985 units in May, with Toyota’s cars leading sales with a 31.8% market share, followed by Honda (17%) and Mitsubishi (5.8%).

“Passenger car sales, especially eco-cars, increased because more customers want to travel privately following the impact of Covid,” said Mr Suphakorn.