Toyota cuts 2013 sales forecast

450,000 domestic units as demand slips

Toyota Motor Thailand (TMT) has revised down its domestic sales forecast by 10% to only 450,000 vehicles this year on easing demand.

President Kyoichi Tanada yesterday said Toyota has seen lighter sales since May, when car makers had delivered most of their cars to customers under the government's first-time car buyer scheme, which expired last year.

Yesterday, TMT reported first-half sales dropped by 1.6% year-on-year to 237,318 cars.

"The domestic market should get back to normal from here on," said Mr Tanada.

Toyota earlier had hoped to increase total vehicle sales to 900,000 this year _ 500,000 for the domestic market and 400,000 for export.

Last year, the company sold 516,086 vehicles in the domestic market, up by 78% from 2011.

Export sales totalled 405,892 vehicles, up by nearly 62%, boosted by the tax rebate for first-time buyers.

Mr Tanada said Toyota has revised up its export sales target to 438,000 units from 400,000.

In a bid to stimulate sales, Toyota will launch its first eco-car in the second half of this year.

As well, it will expand showrooms and service centres to 400 by year-end from 360 now, with Toyota Sure showrooms rising to 100 from 85.

Toyota Sure is TMT's certified used-car arm.

In March, TMT launched it's fourth-generation Vios, targeting monthly sales of 10,000 vehicles.

Toyota expects to export 45,000 of the new Vios to more than 80 countries this year.

It operates four factories in Thailand including a 12-billion-baht facility at Gateway 2 in Chachoengsao that started operations in January.

The new plant will become fully operational this quarter, with annual capacity of 300,000 cars.

Toyota yesterday raised its forecast for Thailand's overall automobile sales to 1.3 million vehicles this year from 1.2 million in an earlier forecast and 1.43 million sold last year.

TMT said Thailand's overall first-half car sales rose by 22.1% year-on-year to 740,795 vehicles thanks mainly to accelerated delivery of cars booked under the first-time car buyer scheme.

It projects Thailand's car sales will remain strong next year, staying at 1.2 million vehicles, then growing again in the next couple of years propelled by Thailand's new CO2-based taxation system debuting in 2016.

About the author

Writer: Piyachart Maikaew
Position: Business Reporter