Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Thai auto sales drop 13 percent in August

BANGKOK (AFP) — Thailand's domestic auto sales dropped 13 percent in August from one year earlier as the slowing economy kept buyers away, the industry said Monday.

Toyota Motors Thailand said the fall, to 47,130 vehicles, would likely have been worse had the price of diesel oil not decreased.

"Sales fell 13 percent because commercial car buying dropped by 25.7 percent, due to the slowdown of overall economic growth," the company said in a statement.

The sale of one-tonne pick up trucks also decreased 28.6 percent last month, it said.

Despite the poor August figures, auto sales for the first eight months of the year are up 3.9 percent to 413,377 units.

Sales of fuel-efficient cars were up 20.3 percent, bolstered by government incentives aimed at reducing the number of gas-guzzlers on Thai roads.

The industry also expected the new fuel-efficient vehicles to be popular in September, but worried the country's ongoing political turmoil could affect the country's economy and auto market.

Thai anti-government protesters have barricaded the main government complex for the past three weeks, and the ruling party has been scrambling to nominate a new prime minister after a court ejected Samak Sundaravej from his post last week.

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