BANGKOK, NNA - Auto production in Thailand rose 4.0 percent in the January-March period for the seventh straight quarter of year-on-year gains, led by solid domestic demand, while exports showed a slight rebound from recent declines.
The Federation of Thai Industries released the latest monthly output data Tuesday.
-- Total vehicle production rose 4.0 percent to 561,487 units in the first quarter from a year earlier on strong domestic demand, while output for exports showed a modest gain. Consumer and business sentiment was buoyant ahead of the general election on March 24. Output in March was 198,821 units, the highest in over five years.
-- Passenger car output rose 1.8 percent to 225,517 units, while production of commercial vehicles grew 5.6 percent to 335,970 units.
-- By destination, production for domestic shipment rose 7.9 percent to 257,864 units. Output for exports gained just 1.0 percent to 303,623 units.
-- January-March auto exports increased 1.6 percent from a year earlier to 299,841 units, led by demand in Asia, the Middle East and North America. It was the first growth in three quarters after a 2.7 percent contraction in the final quarter of 2018. In March, car exports posted the first year-on-year gain in five months, up 6.1 percent at 117,708 units, the highest since September 2017.
-- The auto industry hasn’t suffered any negative impact from the uncertainty over the new Thai government after the election, Surapong Paisitpattanapong, vice-president of the FTI’s Automotive Industry Club, said in a statement.
-- Going forward, the industry is watching how the Thai economy and vehicle sales will be affected by crop prices during the dry season, slower exports and the number of tourists visiting Thailand, he said. The industry’s vehicle-production target of 2,150,000 units by the end of 2019 “is still possible,” Surapong said.