Covid driving car sales in Thailand

In an odd twist to the COVID-19 pandemic, fear of the virus propelled a rise in car sales at Thailand’s annual motor show last week with industry analysts attributing the growth to people’s concerns about their health and safety if they are caught in a crowded train or bus.

Surapong Paisitpatanapong, Vice-Chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) and Spokesman for the Federation’s Automotive Club, said that organizers of the Thailand International Motor Expo are confident that they will reach their target of 30,000 vehicle sales during the 12-day event. This is despite strict social-distancing measures and limited physical access to the exhibition hall because of the pandemic.

“This year’s event will contribute to domestic car sales in Thailand, helping them reach a target of 750,000 units in 2021,” Surapong said.

The Expo is a highly popular annual show in the capital. The newest, latest, most advanced and expensive vehicles are on display from nearly every global manufacturer. The hall is usually packed to capacity each day.

Organizers said that they expect up to 800,000 visitors will physically come to the Impact Challenger exhibition center, while 200,000 will view the event online.

The Kingdom is known for its automobile assembly sector, earning in the sobriquet “The Detroit of Southeast Asia.” Most vehicles are manufactured for export, but the domestic sales have been over one million vehicles a year in recent years prior to the pandemic.

Domestic car sales are changing during the last quarter with sales starting to pick up, Surapong added.