Car manufacturers expect election to improve sentiment
Automakers in Thailand expect the general election next year will generate better sentiment, causing people to buy new cars, even though the industry has slowed since October this year.
They also hope the 39th Thailand International Motor Expo, which starts today, will stimulate car sales as new models are scheduled to be launched at the 12-day event.
The 2023 general election will be a positive factor for the economy and improve business confidence, said auto executives on Wednesday as they counted down the opening of the event to the public.
"Usually elections bring hope and good sentiment to countries that organise them, not only Thailand. People will have more confidence about spending money," said Takashi Hata, president of Tri Petch Isuzu Co, the distributor of Japanese cars produced under the Isuzu brand.
Thailand reopened this year as the Covid-19 situation eased, with the tourism industry recovering in phases, which is expected to continue next year.
Isuzu said the country's automotive industry decelerated since October because of costly energy prices, high inflation, increasing interest rates as well as severe floods.
The prolonged global semiconductor shortage also continued to affect car production, causing manufacturers to delay the delivery of some models to customers.
"The chip scarcity dealt a blow to manufacturing, especially in the electric vehicle [EV] segment, in the first half of the year," said Takashi Kasahara, vice-president of Tri Petch Isuzu.
"The situation seems to be getting better in the second half."
He believes the semiconductor shortage will continue to affect automakers next year.
Even with the impact of the chip shortage on EV manufacturing, many EV producers still view Thailand as a potential market in Asean.
"EVs have become more popular in the world and Thailand. That's why we spent a lot of money on investing in and developing EV manufacturing and facilities," said Parker Shi, vice-president of Chinese sport utility vehicle manufacturer Great Wall Motor.
Ratthakarn Jutasen, deputy managing director of Ford Sales & Services (Thailand), is also concerned about the chip scarcity and other negative economic factors, but believes the Motor Expo will help boost car sales in the last quarter.
"New car models will attract buyers," he said.
The organiser of the Motor Expo expects car bookings to increase to 37,000 units, up from 36,000 units at the 2022 event.
The event includes the participation of 35 car brands and 17 motorcycle brands.
Mr Ratthakarn expects people to have greater confidence in the economy as a result of next year's election, which could affect their decision to buy a new car.