EV sales set to rise by up to 20% this year
Growth in the Thai automotive market is expected to maintain its momentum throughout the year, with electric vehicle (EV) sales projected to expand by 15-20%, according to the latest estimate from the organiser of the Thailand International Motor Expo.
Domestic car sales during the first four months of 2022 increased by 16-17% year-on-year.
The sector should enjoy bright prospects as the government continues to ease measures to curb Covid-19 and adopts economic stimulus packages, said Kwanchai Paphatphong, president of Inter-Media Consultant Co, which organises the expo.
He expects Thailand's car production this year to meet its target of 1.8 million units, despite a semiconductor shortage, China's zero-Covid policy that is hampering global supply chains, and the impact of the Russia-Ukraine war on raw material supplies.
"We still need to keep monitoring these factors," said Mr Kwanchai.
He expects EV sales to grow slowly in 2022, by around 15-20% year-on-year, as the chip shortage has caused some global automakers to delay EV orders.
Mr Kwanchai attributed the growth to the government's efforts to boost the Thai EV industry.
In February the cabinet approved a package of incentives including tax cuts and subsidies to promote EV consumption and production between 2022-2023.
The subsidies range from 70,000 baht to 150,000 baht depending on the type and model of vehicle, while there are lower excise taxes and import duties on completely knocked-down and completely built-up units.
According to the Federation of Thai Industries, new registrations of battery EVs (BEVs) in April increased by 198% year-on-year to 1,232 units.
From January to April, the number of registered BEVs increased year-on-year by 145% to 4,131 units.
Yet BEVs are less popular than hybrid EVs (HEVs) and plug-in hybrid EVs (PHEVs).
"Sales of BEVs are lower than HEVs and PHEVs, which command a large market share in the Thai EV segment," said Mr Kwanchai.
He called on the government to significantly support both HEVs and PHEVs, as they can also help reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
Inter-Media Consultant plans to showcase more EV models, including those from Chinese manufacturers, at the Thailand International Motor Expo later this year.
The expo is scheduled to run from Nov 30 to Dec 12.
The organiser expects car bookings at the event to reach 35,000-36,000 units, an increase from 31,000 units last year.