The Isuzu D-Max could well be swerving towards a surprise 2016 pole position.
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After showing a glimmer of hope at the end of last year with November (+5%) and December (+12%) the first year-on-year gains in 29 months, the Thai market is back in the doom and gloom in this start of 2016 with February volumes down again at -11% to 57.093 units, pulling the year-to-date total down 12% to 108.914 registrations after two months. Toyota is in great difficulty again with sales crumbling down 31% to just 15.569 vs. +4% for Isuzu at 12.171. The demise of Toyota so far in 2016 is correlated to two main events: the retooling of the Toyota Vios production line to introduce the new 1.5 Dual VVT-i engine block as stalled sales of the nameplate to zero, a loss of around 6.000 sales, and the surprising weakness of the all-new Toyota Hilux, outsold by the Isuzu D-Max for the third consecutive month, and not by a small margin (11.245 vs. 8.134).
The Toyota Hilux has been the best-selling vehicle in Thailand each year since 2007.
So far in 2016, the Isuzu D-Max adds up to 20.662 deliveries (+6%) vs. 15.774 for the Hilux (-25%). According to local sources, the Hilux has been the best-selling vehicle in Thailand for eight consecutive years, with the D-Max not ranking #1 since the early years of the previous generation Hilux in 2007. Can it realistically pretend at the 2015 pole position? Its sales advantage so far isn’t negligible, and has been on the back of a mid-life update consisting of a new 1.9 Ddi Blue Power engine bloc and minor design retouches vs. a complete overhaul for the Hilux. March sees the simultaneous launch of the two nameplate’s sporty variants, the D-Max X-Series and Hilux TRD Sportivo, and given the growing share these variants have within total sales, they could have an impact on the overall ranking. But for now the balance is definitely weighing the D-Max way.
The Honda BR-V already outsells the HR-V in Thailand.
In the rest of the brands ranking, Honda is down 8% and Nissan down 25% but Mitsubishi gains 12% to consolidate its 4th position overall. Mazda (+33%) and Ford (+24%) excel and go against the grain by posting strong gains, while Chinese carmaker MG is solid again at #12 and 0.8% share. Model-wise, the Honda City takes advantage of the Vios silence with sales up 8%, the Toyota Fortuner regains some ground at #4 and 2.613 whereas the Mitsubishi Paajero Sport has stabilised around 1.800 sales, brilliantly maintaining itself inside the Top 10. AS it is also the case in Indonesia, the new Honda BR-V overtakes its posher stablemate the HR-V, jumping 18 spots on Januay to #12 with 1.486 sales. The Mazda CX-3 ranks at a strong #21 and the Ford Everest gains a further 7 ranks to #22.
Previous month: Thailand January 2016: Market back down, Isuzu D-Max stays #1
One year ago: Thailand February 2015: New Mitsubishi Triton lands
Full February 2016 Top 20 brands and Top 65 models below.