Thursday, May 21, 2009

Thailand's auto output plunges 45%

Published: 22/05/2009 at 12:00 AM
Newspaper section: Business

Local automobile production plunged 45.4% year-on-year in the first four months of 2009, with a 50-month low in exports in April, said Surapong Phaisitpattanapong, spokesman for the Federation of Thai Industries' automobile industry club.

Of an output of 252,619 vehicles, only 147,487 were for the local market, down 31.9% year-on-year.

Production of passenger cars in the first four months fell 41.78% to 74,239, accounting for 29.39% of total auto production. One-ton pickup trucks tumbled 47.1% to 174,063 units.

Poor farm product prices, unstable politics, slow budget disbursement, poor consumer confidence and sluggish tourism drove down local auto sales, said Mr Surapong.

Vehicle exports from January to April dropped 33.16% to 167,468 units. Vehicle export value dipped 32.16% to 76.65 billion baht in the same period.

But in April vehicle exports dropped 45.9% year-on-year to 28,663 units, the lowest in the past 50 months, he said.

Exports to Europe fell by 65.39%, to Central and South America by 58%, to Oceania by 44.4%, to Asia by 37.49% and to Africa by 22.67%. However, exports to the Middle East rose 31.2%.

Production of motorcycles dropped 41.2% year-on-year in the first four months to 610,619 - 499,194 fully built bikes and 111,425 assembly kits.

Motorcycle exports fell 67.3% to 167,782 units. Their export value dropped 17.9% to 7.56 billion baht.

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