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Thailand’s Auto Production Surges for Exports, Local Sales Decline Amidst Tightened Loans

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BANGKOK – In a dynamic display of Thailand’s automotive industry, the month of July witnessed a significant rise in auto production driven by the manufacturing of vehicles for international markets. However, in a contrasting trend, the domestic sales of automobiles experienced a notable decline. This dip is attributed to stringent loan measures in the face of elevated household debt levels, according to data unveiled on Thursday.

The latest statistics released by the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) indicate that auto manufacturers within the Southeast Asian nation achieved an impressive production figure of 149,709 vehicles in the past month. This achievement reflects a noteworthy 4.72 percent increase compared to the corresponding period from the previous year. Paradoxically, the local sales of cars within Thailand endured a setback, primarily influenced by the expanding presence of imported electric vehicles in the domestic market.

As the FTI further elaborated, the country’s automotive industry experienced a notable uptick in finished car exports, soaring by a substantial 30.05 percent year-on-year in the same month. The surge is largely attributed to improved supplies of semiconductors, a critical component in modern vehicles. Surapong Paisitpattanapong, the Vice President and Spokesperson of the FTI’s automotive industry club, commented on this surge, highlighting the positive impact of enhanced semiconductor availability on export figures.

In terms of financial gains, the data revealed an equally remarkable 30.01 percent year-on-year increase in the export value of finished cars for the month of July. This surge culminated in a total export value of 67.58 billion baht (equivalent to approximately 1.93 billion U.S. dollars). Surapong emphasized that this notable rise was underpinned by heightened shipments to various global markets, attributed to the overall improvement in economies of trade partners.

Looking at the broader trajectory, the cumulative data for the first seven months of the year indicated a robust 19.55 percent year-on-year expansion in finished car exports. These figures align favorably with the industry’s goal of achieving a year-end export target of 1,050,000 units, as indicated by Surapong.

Conversely, the domestic landscape for automobile sales presented a contrasting narrative. Notably, domestic auto sales recorded a decline of 8.77 percent year-on-year in July, amounting to a total of 58,419 units. This downturn is attributed to the reduction in consumer purchasing power, aggravated by the ongoing series of interest rate hikes.

Delving deeper into the sales breakdown, it was revealed that sales of internal combustion engine cars witnessed a significant contraction of 14.34 percent in July compared to the same period the prior year. In stark contrast, sales of battery electric vehicles showcased a remarkable surge, registering an impressive 350.56 percent increase.

As Thailand’s automotive industry navigates these multifaceted dynamics, attention remains focused on how the interplay between export-driven production growth and domestic sales challenges will continue to shape the sector’s trajectory in the coming months.

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