30-year low for car output
Shutdowns and low purchasing take hold
Thailand's car production in April hit its lowest level in 30 years at 24,711 units amid weak global demand, factory shutdowns and widespread layoffs.
The automotive industry may not reach the 1-million-unit threshold this year, which would be a 50% decrease from 2019, said the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI).
Surapong Paisitpatanapong, a spokesman for the FTI's Automotive Club, said if the pandemic is not controlled by June, the industry could be hurting for far longer as the global economy and purchasing power continue to sag.
Global car makers Toyota, Honda, Mitsubishi, Ford and Mazda shut down production lines from March to April because of falling car sales and the government policy to let employees work from home.
Car production in April of 24,711 units was a decrease of 83.6% year-on-year and dip of 83.2% from March.
The sector produced 13,713 vehicles for the export market, an 81.8% year-on-year decrease.
The industry produced 267,617 total units from January to April, a 29.4% decrease year-on-year.
Domestic car sales in April stood at 10,998 units, an 85.4% year-on-year decrease, while domestic car sales for January-April totalled 210,776 units, down 36.7%.
"Domestic car sales decreased for the 11th month in a row in April following two years of strong growth," Mr Surapong said.
FTI reported for the first four months of the year Thailand had total auto capacity of 478,393 units, a 32.8% year-on-year decrease.
Last month, FTI said car production is expected to plunge 30% to 1.33 million units this year, possibly sinking as much as 50% to 1 million if the crisis drags on to June.
Of the 1.33 million vehicles targeted for this year, FTI expects Thailand to produce 665,000 units for export and 665,000 for the domestic market.
"FTI has closely monitored the spread of the disease, especially the possibility of a second wave of infections in Thailand as we are concerned this would only exacerbate its effects on the industry," he said.