Automobile sales contract due to political conflicts

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BANGKOK, March 24 – Thailand’s political instability prompted sales of automobiles in February to fall by 44.8 per cent year-on-year, according to the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI).

FTI’s Automotive Industry Club Deputy Chairman, Surapong Paisitpattanapong said Monday that the country produced a total of 173,506 automobile units in February, a year-on-year decrease of 24.3 per cent due to the end of the government’s First Car Buyer Scheme, continuing political instability and struggled economy, with household debt remaining high.

Mr Surapong reported that the country saw a boost of total automobile production in February of 6.67 per cent more than the previous month, while the total units produced during the first two months of 2014 was 336,158, a decrease of 27.74 per cent year-on-year.

Meanwhile, only 71,680 automobile units were sold in February, a decline of 44.8 per cent year-on-year, following completion of the delivery of automobiles purchased under the First Car Buyer Scheme.

The figure, however, rose from January by 4.63 per cent despite the country’s slow economy and ongoing political crisis.

Sales figures during the first two months of 2014 were recorded at 140,188 units, a year-on-year decline of 45.2 per cent. However, the Bangkok International Motor Show starting today through April 6 is expected to boost sales figures for April.

Mr Surapong also reported that Thailand exported 176,196 cars, or 96.5 per cent of the total car produced for exports during the first two months of 2014. The figure shrank slightly by 3.02 per cent but the export value went up 1.94 per cent to Bt83.4 billion.

However, Thailand is projected to manufacture 2.4 million vehicles throughout this year, down 2.32 per cent, or 57,057 units down from the 2.45 million units produced last year.