Toyota Corolla Altis launch-29

This is crazy news – Honda has overtaken Toyota for the top passenger car sales spot in the Thailand market for the first time ever in history. Honda sold 193,185 passenger cars in Thailand while Toyota sold 190,101, which is about 3,000 units less than Honda. It might seem like a close gap to you, but these numbers represent an 18.2% increase year-on-year for Honda but a 15.4% drop for Toyota.

Toyota attributes the lowered performance in the passenger car market to the Toyota Corolla’s end of life. Production was reduced to make way for the new Toyota Corolla Altis, which was launched in Malaysia this week. Thailand exports the Corolla to Malaysia as well as other markets such as Australia.

“We lost and that is not good, but on the other hand we couldn’t help it, as the Yaris came out only during the final two months while Honda was able to capitalise on its eco-car during the whole year,” said Kyoichi Tanada, president of Toyota Motor Thailand.

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The Toyota Yaris helped Toyota sales pick up in the last two months of 2013, closing the 18,000 unit gap that Honda had built up against Toyota in the first three quarters of the year. Toyota continues to lead the pick-up market with 236,751 units, ahead of Isuzu’s 183,079.

Honda made gains against Toyota in the Malaysian passenger car market in 2013 as well. Honda sales increased from 34,950 units in 2012 to 51,544 units in 2013, while Toyota sales dropped from 74,171 units in 2012 to 61,409 units in 2013, finishing the year with a 10,000-unit lead.

This of course doesn’t include commercial vehicles. If you count that in, Hilux-powered Toyota has a comfortable lead over Honda in Malaysia at 91,185 units compared to Honda’s 51,544. Check out the 2013 sales and production data by MAA to see how every brand did in Malaysia last year.