NESDC to allay jittery car buyers

NESDC to allay jittery car buyers

Trade-in proposal causes confusion

The National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC) will clarify a car trade-in proposal next week as concerns about motorists halting their plans to buy new cars grow.

The proposal, which is aimed to revive car sales that have tanked during the pandemic, remains unclear on many issues, notably whether the trade-in will only apply to the purchase of electric vehicles (EVs), which are more expensive than widely used internal combustion engines.

Industry Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit, who is among key supporters of the trade-in, admitted on Monday he is worried unclear conditions of the proposal and lack of details are confusing prospective car buyers.

Some buyers have reportedly cancelled their car bookings and asked for the return of their deposits as they want a clearer policy on the trade-in before making a decision to change their cars.

"The NESDC and the Finance Ministry will clarify the proposal next week for people who are considering buying new cars," he said yesterday.

Finance officials are studying how to link the trade-in with a tax incentive programme, said Mr Suriya.

The minister cannot tell at this moment whether the trade-in will focus on EVs, saying only EVs would be the future of cars in Thailand.

Even if the trade-in targets EVs, it is still unclear which types of EVs will be selected -- battery electric vehicles (BEVs), hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs).

The Electric Vehicle Association of Thailand did its best by guessing last week all types of EVs should be included to make sure there will be enough EVs for buyers participating in the project.

Car manufacturers and motorists have so far been introduced to a broad idea to give individual motorists trade-in coupons, valued at 100,000 baht, and allow buyers to use the expense as an income tax reduction.

Mr Suriya said earlier officials are speeding up work to make the car trade-in a New Year's gift for people.

The Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) has become the latest group to make a guess, expecting the government will push forward the proposal after the end of the 12-day Motor Expo, which starts tomorrow.

FTI chairman Supant Mongkolsuthree said the business sector and car makers have found no reason to oppose the plan as it is another effort to help relieve the impact of Covid-19 on the automotive industry.

Surapong Paisitpatanapong, vice-chairman and spokesman of the FTI's automotive club, said the trade-in will fully benefit car manufacturers only if it covers both EVs and non-EVs, produced domestically, according to media reports.

Almost all vehicles, completely powered by electricity, were imported, he said.

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