The Thai auto industry has reported a sharp dip in sales performance for the month of January 2016 versus the month before (December 2015). A report by Headlight Magazine underlines a steep 50% decline in sales for the first month of the year against its previous month.

However, the Thai publication claims that this is normal, reporting that sales in Thailand for the month of January are usually never as high as they are in December, when car makers offer various promotions to end the year on a high — a similar scale was reported last year, when January 2015’s figures were almost 50% down on December 2014, too.

Notably, things are also slightly different this year than it was last year. The Thai government has kicked off its new incentive scheme for eco cars in the country as per Phase 2 of the nation’s Eco Car Project. Unlike before, the new scheme is open to all models regardless of their engine size, but benefit only those with low CO2 emissions – just like in the UK, a vehicle’s excise duty is based on its CO2 emissions.


Across all brands, the report showed an average 48.9% dip in vehicles sales in January 2016 (51,821 units) versus December 2015 (101,464 units). But while claims are made that this is normal, the month’s performance was also down by 13.2% against the same period last year.

That said, Toyota is still the nation’s industry leader, selling a total of 13,843 units in January 2016. Isuzu claimed the second spot, selling 11,044 units in the same month, trailed by Honda, which managed to sell just 5,613 units. Collectively, the Thai auto industry recorded a total of 51,821 cars sold in January 2016.

In the greater scheme of things, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Mazda, Ford and Suzuki all reported positive trends based on its performances in January 2016 versus January 2015. Suzuki was the highest climber, selling 1,616 units this year compared to 1,109 from the same period a year ago — a 45.7% improvement.

In the “eco car” segment, the Toyota Yaris led the fray with a total of 2,276 units sold. It was followed by the Nissan Almera with 855 units, and the Mitsubishi Mirage with 663 units. Remember, as per the new government incentives for eco cars, this segment no longer holds a significant advantage over other segments where government incentives are concerned.

The Honda City led the Thai-market B-segment with 2,381 units, while 1,950 units of the Mazda 2 (sedan and hatch collectively) were sold. The Honda Jazz trailed closely behind with 1,508 units. In the C-segment, the Toyota Corolla Altis (559 units) edged the Mazda 3 sedan and hatch collectively (438 units), followed by the Nissan Sylphy (114 units).

The D-segment was led by the Toyota Camry, which held a significant advantage over the Honda Accord — 515 units of the Toyota were sold over 139 units of the Honda. It is reported that one of the reasons for the Accord’s slump is possibly because buyers are holding out for the coming Accord Hybrid, which will benefit from the government’s new eco car incentives, and the Accord facelift.

Honda dominated the compact MPV and SUV segments, with 136 units of the Mobilio MPV and 877 units of the HR-V sold. A level up, the Nissan X-Trail led the C-segment SUVs with 631 units versus the second-place CR-V with 175 units.

Interestingly, the new Toyota Hilux Revo, as it is known in Thailand, failed to overthrow the facelifted Isuzu D-Max, selling just 7,640 units versus the D-Max’s 9,417 units. In the large seven-seater SUV segment, the new Toyota Fortuner managed to lead the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport, with 2,033 units of the Fortuner sold versus the Pajero Sport’s 1,797 units.