Thailand sees collapse of car sales this year

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Thailand’s industry-wide auto sales might slump up to 15 percent this year and deliver a third consecutive year of negative growth, according to the Thai subsidiary of Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp. The company had initial expectations that called for a positive turn of events – with new vehicle sales soaring 4.3 percent this year to a total of about 920,000 units – but was forced to modify its estimate in July to just 800,000 autos and now on Monday it further cut the range from 750,000 to 760,000 vehicles. “The domestic economy has been (a problem) for us for a while. However, the global economy has been worse than expected and has had an impact on this market,” commented Kyoichi Tanada, president of the Toyota Thai division. Last year the industry-wide Thai car deliveries dropped steeply by 33.7 percent to 881,832 units, as the May coup by the army brought further political worries. Back in 2013, the first drop in vehicle sales was caused by the government’s decision to end a subsidy program that supported first-time car buyers. Japan’s Toyota has around one third of the market and has also lowered its own sales expectations from 330,000 autos envisioned back in January to 280,000 cars in July and now to only 265,000 units for the entire year. Last month, Thailand’s central bank underlined the internal woes in one of the largest South-Asian economies as it previewed a total economic growth for 2015 of 2.7 percent instead of the previously anticipated 3 percent, due to lower export quotas. Via Reuters