Toyota Fortuner

Toyota Motor Thailand (TMT) has cut its Thai sales target for this year to 280,000 units from an earlier projected 330,000 units, Bangkok Post reports. The 50k downward revision would mean that the market leader’s sales will fall for three years in a row.

The Japanese giant, overtaken globally by the Volkswagen Group for the first half of 2015, reported 24.9% lower sales in Thailand from January to June. The 123,125 vehicles sold gave it a local market share of 33.4%, down from 37.1%. Sales of passenger cars fell 30.3% year-on-year, while commercial vehicle figures were down by 20.2%.

The tumbling sales are also to do with the country’s economic situation. TMT president Kyoichi Tanada said his company had to face a spate of negative factors that had engulfed the Kingdom’s automotive market, particularly weak consumption and high household debt. The private sector has also become wary of spending and pouring in fresh investment, he pointed out.

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“Despite better sales in the second half, I feel that this year will be the toughest one for Toyota since I started my position here in 2009,” Tanada san said. The new Hilux Revo and Fortuner SUV are expected to boost second half sales.

“The government should speed up its budget disbursement to stimulate the economy, which is the only driver to boost the automotive market. The Japanese government, for example, stimulated its sluggish economy with a money injection to generate the private sector’s confidence, then it increased value-added tax,” he opined.

The overall Thai automotive market fell 16.3% to 369,109 units in the first half of 2015. TMT revised down its forecast of Thailand’s full year sales from 920,000 to below 800,000, and Tanada believes that the Thai market will take until 2018 to reach one million vehicles per year again.

Earlier this week, the Malaysian Automotive Association released figures for the first half of 2015, which was down 3.5% compared to the same period last year. MAA blamed the mild decline in TIV on “consumer sentiment following implementation of GST” and revised down the full year TIV by 10,000 units to 670,000.