Mazda trims forecast as economy buckles under pressure
Mazda Sales Thailand has cut its overall market forecast for the country in 2019 from 1.06 million cars sold to 1.04 million, citing myriad factors domestically and abroad.
The market downgrade coincides with a revised 2019 sales outlook for Mazda of 65,000 cars, down from 75,000. With the new sales target, Mazda expects local car sales to decline for the first time in five years.
President Chanchai Trakarnu- domsuk said the economy is under pressure from the US-China trade war, which has hit exports and tourism.
Meanwhile, the local economy has no positive factors to stimulate consumption, so overall sentiment led the country's car sales to drop for three straight months.
"Mazda was optimistic in early 2019 that the car market would perform very healthy at 1.06 million units, but sentiment has yet to perform as Mazda expected," Mr Chanchai said. "The key mechanism will be the government's 316-billion-baht stimulus package to increase private confidence, attract new investment projects and beef up people's purchasing power."
He said auto loan rejections from banks have been another negative factor pressuring the local car market in 2019.
Thee Permpongpanth, vice-president for marketing and government affairs, said Mazda understands that financial institutions have to be careful when approving auto loans because the country is facing rising household debt.
"Auto loans account for 12% of total household debts, which is a small proportion," he said. "The large segment of debts comes from luxury goods bought by credit card users."
The Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) on Tuesday reported that local car sales totalled 80,838 units in August, down 6.9% from a year earlier.
The FTI's automotive industry club said August sales contracted for the third month in a row.
Local car sales continued to have positive growth of 4.2% to 685,652 cars sold from January to August.
Mazda posted a drop of 8% to 41,324 cars sold in the first eight months, as well as a market share decrease of 0.5 percentage points from the end of 2018 to 6.2% as of August.
"Mazda is trying to achieve a 6.9% market share in 2019, expecting to beef up sales in the fourth quarter, which sees seasonal growth for the car market," Mr Thee said.
Yesterday, Mazda introduced the all-new Mazda 3, produced at its joint venture plant in Rayong.
The latest model is available in sedan or hatchback style, powered by a 2.0-litre petrol engine.
Mazda 3 ranks third in the mid-size passenger car segment in sales, trailing the Honda Civic and the Toyota Altis.
The overall mid-size passenger car segment fell by 18% during the January-August period.
Mazda expects to sell 7,000 units of the Mazda 3 in the first year of launch.