New vehicle sales in Thailand rose another 15% to 64,735 units in May 2022, after recovering 54% to 58,132 units in the same month of last year, according to the latest wholesale data released by the Federation of Thai Industries ( FTI).
Despite rising inflation, the Bank of Thailand kept its benchmark rate unchanged at an all-time low of 0.5% at its June meeting to further support the domestic economic recovery. Total GDP grew 2.2% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2022, after contracting 2.6% in the same period last year, driven by strong exports and an improvement in domestic consumption, helped by the economic government stimulus packages.
Domestic car sales in the first five months of the year were up more than 17% to 358,778 units, compared to 305,357 units in the same period last year, driven by strong demand for passenger cars and pickup trucks.
Vehicle exports fell more than 3% to 76,937 units in May and more than 7% to 380,758 units in the year to date, while total vehicle production fell nearly 8% last month to 129,231 units, but rose more than 2% to 727,095 units in the five-month period.
Surapong Paisitpatanapong, vice chairman and spokesperson for the FTI’s auto club, said there was growing concern about household debt as prices of fuel and factory inputs continued to rise. The Thai baht had fallen nearly 10% against the US dollar since February. The federation maintained its full-year vehicle production forecast at 1.8 million units by 2022, with domestic sales expected to reach 900,000 units.