And with the ever rising number of new new cars on the road, the Department of Land Transport now faces a problem of a shortage of licence plate numbers. The department reported that registration of new vehicles has increased to over 50,000 units a month, compared with around 20,000 previously.
Therefore, the department is introducing a new licence plate numbering system, placing a numeral in front of the two Thai alphabet characters - for example, 1กก XXXX.
This will provide for the registration of 56.3 million units and is expected to remain in use for the next 157 years. The new licence plates are likely to be issued from December.
Toyota Motor Thailand vice president Vutigorn Suriyachantananont said on Monday that local automobile sales during the period January-September rose by 71.3% year-on-year to slightly over one million units (1,000,577 units) due to the continued strong demand, overall production increase to speed up customer delivery and the first-car buyer scheme.
September alone, automobile sales soared 52.7% from the same month in 2011 to 132,874 units.
Of the total, 68,282 units were passenger cars, a 67.8% rise y-o-y, and 64,592 units were commercial vehicles, a 39.4% y-o-y increase.
Mr Vutigorn expected the momentum of automobile sales in October to continue due to the cumulated backlog of orders and the continued growth in vehicle demand.
Toyota still commanded the largest share of the overall automobile market in the first three quarters with cumulative sales growing 75.9% to 380,751 units. It holds a 38.1% market share, followed by Isuzu with 15% on the back of 150,003 vehicles sold, a 42.7% increase, and Honda with a 10.6% share at 106,444 units, a 74.8% increase.
Total domestic sales in 2011 were 794,081 units.
The Finance Ministry on Oct 1 started paying tax rebates to first-car owners. So far, around 250,000 buyers have applied for the rebates, worth a combined 18 billion baht.
Under the policy, first time car buyers have the right to seek a rebate of up to 100,000 baht a unit if they buy a passenger car with a maximum engine capacity of 1,500cc or a pickup truck for a price not exceeding one million baht. The purchase must be done in 2012, but delivery can be made in 2013.