FTI sees flat motorcycle sales as glut nears

Motorcycles navigate a busy road in Bangkok. Sales of motorcycles from January to August totalled 1,226,000 units, down 0.8%. PORNPROM SATRABHAYA

The Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) predicts that the motorcycle market will remain flat this year at 1.8 million units sold and that the market will soon become saturated.

Surapong Paisitpatanapong, a spokesman for the FTI’s automotive industry club, said the market remains cloudy, with sales growth lagging that of the car segment.

The club reported that motorcycle sales from January to August this year totalled 1,226,000 units, down 0.8%.

In August alone, sales were 156,866 motorcycles, up 6.1% year-on-year and 17% month-to-month.

“Monthly motorcycle sales have remained in fluctuation, so the full-year projection is unchanged,” Mr Surapong said.

Citing data for each country, he said Thailand’s income is projected at US$7,588 per person per year, which is high enough to afford a car instead of a motorcycle, while Indonesia’s stands at $4,116. The latter country’s motorcycle market is about 7 million units, with slower growth.

“But Thailand has a smaller population than Indonesia, so there is limited room to grow in this market,” Mr Surapong said, adding that Thailand’s motorcycle ownership rate is 3.2-3.3 people per bike.

The automotive club reported that the country’s motorcycle output in August rose by 3% to 208,186 units in both completely built-up (CBU) and completely knocked-down (CKD) formats.

Overall motorcycle output stood at 1.73 million units over the first eight months of 2018, up 1.7%.

Motorcycle exports in August rose by 4.2% to 64,550 units for CBUs and CKDs. Shipment value in the same month rose by 14.5% to 4.81 billion baht.

Overall motorcycle exports from January to August rose 3.4% to 582,307 for CBUs and CKDs, and the value for the period increased by 10.9% to 39.72 billion baht.

For the car industry, the club said local sales in August rose by 27.7% to 86,780 units, driven by healthy economic sentiment in the country, new investment from the government and private sector, increasing consumer confidence, new construction projects, booming tourism and strong export growth.

Overall car sales increased by 21.1% to 657,844 units over the first eight months.

The country’s automotive output in August rose by 2.2% to 181,237 units, thanks to production of passenger cars and pickup trucks for the local market.

Overall car output from January to August rose by 10.4% to 1,421,000 units.

Car exports in August dipped 0.4% to 102,513 units because of a contraction in volume of passenger cars and pickup passenger vehicles. But the export value in August rose by 2.8% to 55.73 billion baht.

Car exports from January to August increased by 3.5% to 754,624 units, and value for the period grew by 2.8% to 396.49 billion baht.

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