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Motor show bookings stagnant once again

Organiser believes sentiment is gaining

People throng the 38th Bangkok International Motor Show. Despite an increase in visitors from last year, bookings dropped for the fifth year in a row.

Car buyer sentiment is recovering despite lower than expected bookings at the 38th Bangkok International Motor Show 2017, says the organiser.

Jaturont Komolmis, chief operating officer of Grand Prix International Plc, the organiser of the motor show that ended on Sunday, said the company remained satisfied with car bookings at the 14-day event, which have nudged above 30,000 units.

"We see overall sentiment as improving thanks to the expiry of the five-year ownership period for vehicles bought under the first-time car buyer scheme as well as higher crop prices," said Mr Jaturont.

The organiser yesterday reported 31,000 car bookings. That figure was down 4.82% from last year's event of 32,571 and missed the company's target of 34,000-35,000 bookings.

The top five brands bought in the mass segment were Toyota (5,465), Honda (5,279), Mazda (3,419) Isuzu (2,974) and Ford (1,868). Bookings for the luxury segment were dominated by Mercedes-Benz (2,090) and BMW (1,273), followed by Audi (184), Volvo (140) and Lexus (116).

The organiser also reported motorcycle bookings at 2,892 units, with Yamaha having the top tally of 1,151 units, followed by Kawasaki (575), Honda (450), Motoplex (369) and BMW Motorrad (237).

It also reported bookings of tricycles and electric golf carts numbering 1,019 units, mainly from H Sem Motor.

The event drew 1.65 million visitors, slightly higher than 1.6 million last year. The show's record for bookings was 57,058 units in 2012, helped by the tax rebate programme offered to first-time car buyers. Bookings dropped to 40,834 units in 2013, 39,415 in 2014 and 37,027 in 2015.

Surapong Paisitpatanapong, a spokesman for the automotive club of the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI), said car sales in April are likely to stay lower than February and March because of the long holidays.

The FTI's latest report noted domestic car sales rose for a second straight month in February, up by 19.9% year-on-year to 68,435 units. In January, sales rose by 10.5% year-on-year to 57,254 units.

The passenger car segment rose by 59.8% year-on-year in February to 26,702 units, thanks to active launches of new and reintroduced models by carmakers. Sales of pickup trucks and big trucks also rose by 15% and 12.3% to 30,348 and 2,300 units, respectively.

For the first two months, domestic car sales amounted to 125,689 units, up by 15.4% from the same period last year.

He said the market is expected to grow again from May onward, with the club confident domestic sales will rise 4.1% to 800,000 units, the first uptick in five years.

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