Nissan is looking to increase export sales from Thailand to offset soft demand from the local market, which is expected to slow further in the second half of the year as the country grapples with a growing Covid-19 outbreak and resulting lockdown, The Bangkok Post reports.

The country has decided to extend the lockdown period and increase the scope to 29 provinces, including Bangkok. These measures are expected to have an effect on consumer purchasing power, while financial institutions have set strict lending criteria for auto loans during the pandemic.

As a result of these disruptions, the company is projecting domestic total industry volume (TIV) for this year to be in the range of 700,000-750,000 units, down from its earlier projection of 800,000 units. In fiscal 2020, Nissan sold 39,600 units in Thailand, giving it a 5% market share.

Nissan Thailand president Isao Sekiguchi said that to offset the lack of local demand, the company plans to sell more cars abroad in line with the global economic recovery, focusing on markets with high potential such as the Middle East.

The pandemic would however not stop the company from continuing to strengthen its brand identity and plans to become one of the top five car brands in Thailand. It plans to upgrade showrooms and will be launching a new model later this month, which the report indicates will be the Terra.

This is likely to be the facelift of the Navara-based body-on-frame, three-row SUV, which was introduced in 2018. It remains to be seen how different the new offering will be from the X-Terra that was introduced for the Middle East market late last year.