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Thailand 1996-1998: Market implodes -75%, Isuzu Faster Z back to #1, Toyota launches Soluna and Sport Rider

The Isuzu Faster Z is now available as a 4WD called Rodeo.

New vehicle sales in Thailand edge up 3.1% in 1996 to a new record 546.853, with Toyota (+2.7%) coming up with a round 30% share with Isuzu (+2.1%), Nissan (+5.9%) and Mitsubishi (+6.6%) all above 10%. Honda (+44.1%) posts by far the largest gain in the Top 10 whereas Mercedes (-45.8%), Ford (-23.8%), Mazda (-19%) and Hyundai (-17.4%) implode. Model-wise, after a short interruption last year, the Isuzu Faster Z (+1.1%) resumes its domination with a 4th win in the past 5 years and its very first six-digit annual volume at 100.536. The Toyota Hilux (-1%) returns to #2 above the Nissan Big M (+7.3%), Mitsubishi L200 (+3.2%) and Toyota Corolla (+20.9%), again the best-selling car ahead of the Mitsubishi Lancer (+36.5%), Honda Civic (-2.7%) and new Honda City.

Instant blockbuster: the Toyota Soluna launches at #4 in 1997.

In 1997 the market is hit full frontal by the economic crisis and freefalls -36.2% to 349.065. 3 of the Top 4 brands resist better however: Toyota (-34.8%), Isuzu (-26.5%) and Honda (-12.4%) improve their share, the latter climbing to #4 above Mitsubishi (-50.7%). Nissan (-54.3%) endures the largest drop in the Top 20 but remains #3. Chrysler (-14%), Ford (-15%), Mercedes (-15%) and Mazda (-23%) also post relatively strong scores in the Top 10. In the models ranking, the Isuzu Faster Z (-35.1%) widens the gap with the Toyota Hilux from under 1.800 units in 1996 to over 13.000 this year, while the Nissan Big M (-61.9%) implodes. The Toyota Soluna lands directly at a fantastic 4th place: it’s a Thailand-specific sedan based on the Tercel and smaller than the Corolla. It instantly becomes the best-selling car in the country above the Honda City (+29%) with which it competes, the Honda Civic (-30.8%) and Toyota Corolla (-66.3%) annihilated by its arrival. The Isuzu Rodeo is now counted separately as the Faster Z and lands at #12.

The Toyota Sport Rider lands directly inside the 1998 Top 10.

Thai new vehicle sales hit rock bottom in 1998, losing -60.3% year-on-year to fall to just 138.668 units. Toyota (-60.1%) and Isuzu (-61.1%) keep control of the brands ranking while Honda (-55.4%) and Mitsubishi (-54.8%) both overtake Nissan (-69.4%) to climb to #3 and #4 respectively. Ford (+1.3%) spectacularly posts the only year-on-year gain in the entire market but is only up one spot to #7, just as Opel (-16.4%) gains 8 spots to break into the Top 10 at #9. Model-wise, the Isuzu Faster Z (-60.1%) and Toyota Hilux (-61%) remain way above the rest, the Mitsubishi L200 (-50.9%) and Nissan Big M (-77%) exchange their spots to #3 and #5 respectively and the Toyota Soluna (-73.7%) remains the most popular car at #4. The Toyota Sport Rider, a mid-size SUV based on the Toyota Hilux and exclusive to Thailand, makes its entrance at #9.

Previous year: Thailand 1995: Toyota Hilux claws back to #1 for 313 sales, market above 1/2 million for the first time

Full Year 1996, 1997 and 1998 Top 32 All-brands and Top 140 All-models vs. Full previous years figure below.

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