FTI frets about poor car output and second wave

FTI frets about poor car output and second wave

Car manufacturing in Thailand remains unimpressive, decreasing by 38.7% year-on-year to 963,066 units over the past nine months, attributed to the global economic slowdown, closures of some car factories and weak purchasing power, says the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI).

The FTI's automotive club is concerned a second wave of the pandemic may erupt and hit the automotive industry, including auto parts and electronics businesses.

Surapong Paisitpatanapong, FTI vice-chairman and the club's spokesman, said yesterday the club will closely monitor the cool season, when the virus is considered more contagious, which may cause the government to consider imposing lockdown measures again if infection rates reach alarming levels.

"The pandemic is the main factor affecting the industry. We hope a vaccine can be found as soon as possible," he said.

FTI reported total car manufacturing in September decreased by 11.3% to 150,345 units year-on-year.

"Export production decreased by 25.4% year-on-year to 67,964 units, while manufacturing for the domestic market decreased by 40.1% to 82,381 units year-on-year," said Mr Surapong.

The FTI maintains its car production outlook of 1.3-1.4 million units this year, thanks to increased business activities after the lockdown was lifted and some car factories resuming their operations.

In the second half of 2020, car companies will continue to launch new car models in the hopes of boosting the automotive market.

"Carmakers will use various marketing campaigns to stimulate purchases and offer buyers a range of cars from electric vehicles and sport utility vehicles to pickups," said Mr Surapong.

Pickups are especially popular in the domestic market, he said.

According to the FTI, domestic car sales in September increased by 4.1% to 77,433 units year-on-year.

From January to September, sales in the country decreased by 22.1% year-on-year to 534,219 units.

Mr Surapong said Thailand's car sales overseas in September dropped by 34.4% to 63,941 units year-on-year.

"The decrease came mainly from the economic slowdown in overseas markets during the pandemic," said Mr Surapong, referring to the sales drop in Europe, the US, Japan and Brazil.

From January to September, Thailand's car sales in overseas markets fell by 36.4% year-on-year to 521,457 units, with export value standing at 288 billion baht, a drop of 31.8% year-on-year.

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