Triumph sees first sharp sales drop since Thai debut

Triumph sees first sharp sales drop since Thai debut

British Triumph Motorcycles has cut its sales view for this year from 3,000 big bikes to 2,500 after sales shrank in the first 10 months.

Citing registrations at the Land Transport Department, Triumph reported 2,175 units sold from January to October, down 14.7% year-on-year, marking the first sharp drop since local Triumph sales began in 2008.

"But we are confident sales will improve over the two remaining months as the fourth quarter is the high season for motorcycles," said Jakkrapong Santirat, general manager of the local unit Triumph Motorcycles Thailand.

Mr Jakkrapong said Triumph also suffered from the contraction of the 400cc big bike market, with total sales of 25,526 units from January to October.

The big bike market for four Western brands also shrank by 12-15% to 4,805 units for the period.

"The big bike market in 2018 faced myriad negative factors, mainly lower purchasing power from Thai buyers," he said.

"The market has grown continuously in the past, but this year potential buyers are hesitating while current owners are yet to complete their instalment payments."

Mr Jakkrapong said financial institutions have also tightened approval of hire-purchase loans for big bikes, pressuring sales.

Although buyers in the big bike segment are different from mass market buyers, the negative momentum from the overall motorcycle market has affected the premium big bike segment, he said.

The Land Transport Department reported Thailand's motorcycle registration stood at 1.506 million units from January to October, decreasing 1.4% year-on-year.

"There are three groups of big bike customers -- business owners, mid-sized entrepreneurs and mid- to high-salary employees. Prices of farm products remain low, which pressures not only farmers but also farm owners," Mr Jakkrapong said.

Triumph was the first Western big bike maker to come to Thailand, opening its first factory in May 2002 to make motorcycle components such as frames, fuel tanks, header systems, swinging arms, engine covers and chrome-plated parts.

A second factory opened in 2006 with a painting facility and assembly line, and a third plant opened in 2007 for high-pressure die casting and machining.

All three factories are at Amata City Industrial Estate in Chon Buri.

The company employs 1,100 workers in Thailand. The facilities have a combined production capacity of 80,000 units a year.

All Triumph motorcycles are made for the Thai market with 50-60% local content.

Triumph ships Thai-made motorcycles to 57 countries, representing 65-70% of Triumph sales worldwide.

Triumph's Thai facilities have a combined investment of over 3 billion baht.

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