Isuzu’s exports from Thailand is expected to remain flat this year as demand from the crucial Middle East market is set remain slow, Bangkok Post reports.
Last year, Isuzu’s shipments from Thailand slipped 11% to 160,000 units. Toshiaki Maekawa, president of Tri Petch Isuzu Sales, the Thai distributor of Isuzu trucks, said that the company expects export volume to be around 160,000 to 170,000 units this year, combining both CBU and CKD units.
“Unfavourable circumstances in the Middle East, where economic prospects remain murky and oil prices stay relatively low, will make it tough for Isuzu to grow exports. Isuzu also needs to rely on the Middle Eastern market, particularly for Saudi Arabia where the company controls 80% market share,” he said.
“There are myriad risks from other countries that may affect the country’s vehicle export such as the new economic policies of US president Donald Trump, the international conflicts between the United States and China, and the US and Israel, and weak economic condition in Japan,” Maekawa added, echoing the sentiment of the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) automotive club.
On the domestic front, the maker of the D-Max pick-up truck and MU-X SUV expects sales to grow by a modest 2% this year, to 146,000 units. Isuzu expects Thailand’s 2017 auto sales to grow 5.5% to 810,000 units. The FTI is forecasting a 2.6% growth in total Thai output this year to two million units, including 800,000 units for domestic consumption.
Isuzu operates two Thai plants in Samut Prakan and Chachoengsao. Combined, they have an annual production capacity of 366,000 units, and serve domestic sales as well as exports to over 110 countries. The truck and diesel engine specialist is set to roll out a refreshed MU-X in Thailand next month.