Thailand’s car production in Jan down 31% as new-car buyers dry up

Car manufacturers in Thailand produced 162,652 vehicles in January, down 31% year-on-year, the latest figures released by the Thailand Automotive Institute (TAI) showed.

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The decline was due to falling domestic sales after the expiry of the first car-buying scheme at the end of December 2012, an official at TAI confirmed to Steel First on Wednesday February 26.

The incentive policy, introduced by the government in an attempt to bolster the economy following devastating floods that hit the country in 2011, offered tax rebates to those buying their first car.

The subsidy programme was widely seen as a failure. An article in Reuters last September reported that more than 100,000 new buyers had defaulted on their loans with their cars seized by finance companies, resulting in a surplus of used cars. Domestic car sales registered a 7.4% year-on-year fall in 2013.

Domestic sales in January slumped 45.6% year-on-year to 68,508 units, while exports dropped 6.9% on year to 81,025 units.

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