Political strife within the Thai government hasn’t slowed down vehicle sales in the Kingdom. In April, General Motors reported a 62% jump in sales to 1,879 vehicles compared to 1,162 units in the same month last year. With this rise in demand, GM is toying with the idea of increasing output at its Rayong factory to 76,000 vehicles per annum and to invest US$467 million to upgrade facilities and build a new diesel engine plant.
The gains are not just for GM, as even Toyota, who recently suspended production at one of its plants, increased deliveries by 43% to 92,000 units. Isuzu, another big pick-up truck player, has reported a 44% jump to 46,071 units sold. These figures are year-to-date, as of end April. According to the Automotive Industry Club, general vehicle output has increased by 129% from a year earlier to 150,119 vehicles.
Ray Young, GM’s vice president of international operations, is concerned about the current political crisis but reiterated his company’s confidence in our northern neighbour. “We are monitoring the situation in Thailand, but we remain optimistic. Our business and expansion plans will continue in Thailand without delays. The nation will remain the leading automotive market in the ASEAN region,” he said.