The Toyota Hilux should top the Thai models ranking for the 7th consecutive year in 2012 (Picture by autoevolution).
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While we were expecting Indonesia to be the first South East Asian car market to pass the one million annual units by the end of 2012, it is Thailand that toppled that milestone first thanks to explosive growth over the last few months. A record 1,000,577 new cars found a new home in Thailand over the first 9 months of 2012, up a huge 71% year-on-year! Total domestic sales in 2011 were 794,081 units, placing Thailand at #20 in the world’s biggest car markets ranking. In 2012 it should shoot up to #13, passing countries like Spain, Turkey, Mexico, Australia and… regional rival Indonesia.
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In September alone, the Thai new car market is up 53% year-on-year to reach 132,874 registrations, an all-time monthly record for the Thai industry. Of the total, 68,282 were passenger cars (+68%) and 64,592 were commercial vehicles (+39%). These huge figures have prompted the Department of Land Transport, faced with a shortage of licence plate numbers, to introduce a new licence plate numbering system, placing a numeral in front of the two Thai alphabet characters – for example, 1กก XXXX. This system is expected to remain in use for the next 157 years…
Other Thai September post: Thailand Pick-ups September 2012: Mazda BT-50 impresses
* See the full article featuring sales detail by month and by brand below *
Brand-wise, Toyota solidifies its domination of the Thai market with sales up 76% over the first 9 months of 2012 to 380,751 units for a 38.1% market share. Isuzu follows thanks to the D-Max pick-up, up 43% to 150,003 sales and 15% share, with Honda ranking #3 , up 75% to 106,444 units and 10.6%.
Toyota Motor Thailand vice president Vutigorn Suriyachantananont said the large increase in sales will continue for at least the next few months, fuelled by the first-car buyer scheme: the Finance Ministry started paying tax rebates to first-car owners on October 1, with around 250,000 buyers applying for the rebates so far. Under the policy, first time car buyers have the right to seek a rebate of up to 100,000 baht a unit if they buy a passenger car with a maximum engine capacity of 1,500cc or a pickup truck for a price not exceeding one million baht. The purchase must be done in 2012, but delivery can be made in 2013.
Thailand is also a regional vehicle production and export bas for the world’s top car manufacturers, with the majority of all 1-tonne pick-ups sold in the world produced in the country… Thailand is expected to produce a record 2.2 million vehicles this year, driven by recovery in both internal and external demand after supply disruptions in 2011.
2012 monthly registrations comparison Thailand-Indonesia: