Chip shortages put a dent in rising sales of motorcycles

Chip shortages put a dent in rising sales of motorcycles

A visitor checks out bikes displayed at a Motor Expo. The sales of motorcycles throughout 2021 stood at around 1.61 million units. Pattarapong Chatpattarasill
A visitor checks out bikes displayed at a Motor Expo. The sales of motorcycles throughout 2021 stood at around 1.61 million units. Pattarapong Chatpattarasill

The Thai economic recovery is expected to boost motorcycle sales in the domestic market, but manufacturers are still struggling to deal with ongoing semiconductor shortages, says the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI).

Manufacturers are looking forward to continued sales in the remaining months of this year after September saw motorcycle purchases soar by 35.8% year-on-year to 150,297 units, said Surapong Paisitpatanapong, vice-chairman and spokesman for the FTI's automotive club.

The tourism sector is a key driver of the economy and can help boost people's purchasing power, according to the Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking (JSCCIB), which earlier this month increased its GDP growth forecast to 3-3.5% this year, compared with a previous prediction of 2.75-3.5%.

The JSCCIB attributed the increase to the recovery of the tourism sector.

Despite good tourism prospects and rising motorcycle sales in September, purchases dropped by 12.5% from the previous month, largely because of the semiconductor shortages, said Mr Surapong.

The chip scarcity especially affected the big bike category, he said.

"The semiconductor shortage is still a major problem for motorcycle makers as it affects production of big bikes and other new motorcycle models," said Mr Surapong.

According to the club, total sales of motorcycles in Thailand from January to September increased by 13.3% year-on-year to more than 1.36 million units.

Total motorcycle sales in 2021 tallied 1.61 million units.

Motorcycle exports increased to 762,202 units in the first nine months of 2022, year-on-year growth of 5.81%.

In September alone, exports increased by 33.9% year-on-year to 92,659 units.

Many motorcyclists showed more interest in electric bikes as the government continued to promote the production and consumption of electric vehicles (EVs) through its incentive packages.

In September, newly registered motorcycles in the battery EV category skyrocketed by 193% year-on-year to 972 units, said the club, citing statistics from the Land Transport Department.

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