Suzuki optimistic about sales

Suzuki optimistic about sales

Numerous factors set to snap contraction

Mr Wallop says Suzuki Thailand is satisfied with sales despite falling short of expectations in 2016.
Mr Wallop says Suzuki Thailand is satisfied with sales despite falling short of expectations in 2016.

Suzuki Motor Thailand is upbeat about sales prospects this year, pointing to the country's overall automotive recovery and growing eco-car segment.

The Japanese carmaker expects its Thai car sales to grow by 4.7% this year to 24,000 units, with market share holding steady at 3%.

Executive director Wallop Treererkngam said the country's car market is expected to swing to growth this year after four years of contraction.

The company forecasts domestic sales to grow this year by 4% to 800,000 units.

Key impetuses will be the state's megaproject investment, the expiry of the five-year ownership conditions under the previous government's first-time car buyer scheme and anticipated launches of new car models.

"We estimate some 300,000 buyers from the government's first-time car buyer programme will buy new cars per year," said Mr Wallop. "This will lead the domestic market to recoup 1.1 million units sold under the rebate scheme over the next five years."

But he said negative factors that may affect the domestic market still exist, including high household debt, lower purchasing power and tightening loan approval requirements from financial institutions.

Mr Wallop said Suzuki witnessed the eco-car segment grow more robust during 2012-16 amid the domestic market's contraction.

The eco-car segment accounted for 39% of the passenger car market last year, compared with 35.7% in 2015.

He said eco-cars are expected to become the core segment of the passenger car market in the foreseeable future.

Suzuki's eco-cars now represent about 80% of Suzuki's overall sales.

"I am confident that car buyers will consider eco-car replacements because retail prices are cheap and they can handle the down payment, along with the low rejection rate from banks."

Yesterday, Suzuki reported its sales rose 7.7% last year to 22,913 units, with its market share rising 0.34% to 3%.

Mr Wallop said the company was satisfied with its 2016 sales, despite being well below its 24,000 unit forecast.

"At least we achieved our market share target. Our market share in the passenger car segment rose by 0.7% to 6.73% last year," he said.

Suzuki plans to expand its showrooms and service centres from 103 last year to 120 locations this year.

According to a Suzuki report, the company shipped 37,137 eco-cars in 2016, down 5% year-on-year.

Suzuki plans to export 39,500 eco-cars this year to Asia, Oceania, Europe and Latin America. As of last year, Suzuki had shipped 102,109 eco-cars and sold 104,550 eco-cars locally.

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