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November 16, 2008

Thai car sales drop on global crisis, local turmoil
Thailand's car sales fell 15.4 percent in October in the steepest loss of the year, apparently triggered by the global financial crisis, AFP quoted Japanese car manufacturer Toyota as saying Saturday.

In a statement Toyota, which as the largest carmaker in Thailand compiles industry-wide monthly data, blamed eroding consumer confidence for five months of losses.

"Sales have plunged because of the financial crisis in the United States and uncertainties over Thai politics, coupled with the fact that the consumer confidence index hit a new low," Toyota Motor Thailand said.

Political turmoil has engulfed the kingdom since anti-government protesters took to the streets in May and have occupied the prime minister's offices since August, calling for the government to step down over corruption claims.

Total car sales in October reached 48,942 units with passenger car sales rising 20.4 percent.

But commercial vehicle sales, which make up a far greater share of the market, fell 28.3 percent and dragged overall figures down.

Three Japanese auto makers, Toyota, Isuzu and Honda account for 79.8 percent of Thailand's total car market.

Toyota predicted car sales in November would continue to shrink and Toyota has revised down its sales target for this year from 700,000 to 650,000 units, still 3.0 percent higher than last year.



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