Special Report: Bright outlook for Thai auto industry


The Thai automobile industry has been growing steadily over the past several months and still seems to continue to prosper. The market segment that is taking the most out of this business belongs to the small car industry.

According to the Automotive Industry Club of the Federation of Thai Industries, the Thai auto industry has grown drastically in terms of units sold each month since the beginning of 2012. In the first six months of the year, auto sales saw a 33.5 percent rise compared to the same period last year.

The company that holds the largest share in the small car market is Toyota which has alone sold over 71,000 small passenger cars. This was followed by Honda, Nissan, Mazda, Mitsubishi, and Suzuki respectively.

There are 2 main factors that are causing the steep rise. The first factor is the introduction of eco-cars. Since people have become more concerned about global warming and world’s environment, driving an eco-car is one of the options people are taking into consideration. Not just only the environment that eco-cars save, they help save money on gas as well.

The second reason behind the growth of the Thai automobile industry is the government’s “First-Car Buyer” policy which started on November 16 of 2011 and will end on December 31 of this year. However, the government is likely to extend that policy to the middle of next year.

According to the First-Car Buyer policy, car buyers eligible for tax refunds must be at least 21 years old. They must hold ownership of the cars for at least five years. Their vehicles must not be worth more than one million baht, with engine capacity not exceeding 1,500 cc. The cars must also be manufactured in Thailand, excluding those produced with imported used parts. And the refund will be made from 1 October 2013 onwards.

These two main factors have been driving the Thai automobile industry to where it has never seen in its sales history for at least 50 years.

In addition to its growth, the total sale in the first half of 2012 is around 6 hundred thousand cars and it is anticipated to reach 1.2 million cars by the end of this year.