FTI sticks with annual car production forecast of 1.95m

FTI sticks with annual car production forecast of 1.95m

The Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) is maintaining its prediction for total car production this year at 1.95 million cars despite a drop in output last month.

The number of cars produced in April decreased by 0.13% year-on-year to 117,636 units, attributed to the long Songkran holiday and a decline in domestic sales, especially for pickups, said Surapong Paisitpatanapong, vice-chairman of the FTI and spokesman for the FTI's Automotive Industry Club.

From January to April, car manufacturing grew, up 4.61% year-on-year to 625,423 units.

"We are concerned about the target, but are positive about the establishment of the Move Forward Party-led coalition government planning and spending budget to boost the economy and build business confidence," said Mr Surapong.

He believes the new administration will boost the confidence of commercial banks and financial institutions, relieving their concerns over granting loans to car buyers.

According to the club, sales in April decreased by 6.14% year-on-year to 59,530 cars because of banks' strict criteria to screen loan requests, amid high household debt.

During the first four months of this year, car sales plunged by 6.11% year-on-year to 276,603.

Car exports in April increased by 43.5% year-on-year to 79,940 units, driven by more sales of pickups in Australia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe, said Mr Surapong.

From January to April, total car exports stood at 353,632 units, an 18.3% increase from the same period last year.

Mr Surapong said the Move Forward Party's election campaign to increase the daily minimum wage to 450 baht should not affect global car makers because they currently pay higher than the minimum rate.

However, the rise may affect small auto parts makers because wages are their main operating cost, he said.

In the electric vehicle (EV) segment, global car companies want to know what the EV policy will be under the new administration.

"They want EV promotion to continue to boost investment and would like the government to approve new EV and battery incentive packages for 2024 and 2025," said Mr Surapong.

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