Ford, the US car maker, expects its Thai sales will stay the course for growth this year despite other makers cutting their sales forecasts and revving up export plans.
Ford Thailand expects to sell 70,000 cars this year, up by 27.6% from last year. In the first seven months, the company sold 31,150 vehicles, up by 15% year-on-year.
Managing director Yukontorn Wisadkosin said Ford's sales will be boosted primarily by the Ranger pick-up truck and Fiesta passenger car.
Two new models were introduced in Thailand early this year _ the EcoSport mini sport-utility vehicle and the Fiesta EcoBoost sedan.
The Rayong factory of subsidiary Ford Thailand Manufacturing will produce both models from the fourth quarter.
It already makes 160,000 of the Focus model annually.
The locally produced EcoSport will serve mainly Asean markets, but Ms Yukontorn did not disclose a price.
Ford's four main production bases serving Asia-Pacific are Brazil, India, China and Thailand.
Last year, Asia-Pacific accounted for 60-70% of Ford's global sales, mainly subcompacts and pick-up trucks.
The firm sold 1 million vehicles in Asia last year, up by 27% from 2011.
This included 87,623 sold in Asean, particularly in Thailand, whose 54,865 Ford cars sold represented 88% growth.
Thailand's overall domestic auto sales are forecast to drop to between 1.25 and 1.3 million units this year from 1.45 million last year.
In the first seven months, domestic sales managed to increase by 13.6% year-on-year to 839,046 despite the July total falling by 25.4% year-on-year to 98,251.
"The Thai economy is expected to be inactive for the rest of the year due to lower consumption and weaker exports. But we believe our new-model launches will spur demand," said Ms Yukontorn.
About the author
- Writer: Piyachart Maikaew
Position: Business Reporter