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Car sales defy high fuel prices


April 20, 2008

Car sales defy high fuel prices

Despite the high fuel prices, the automobile market in Thailand, the biggest in Asean, recorded a 16.3 percent rise in sales in the first quarter, according to Toyota Motor Thailand Co, the compiler of the sales statistics.

Sales of vehicles totalled 160,786 units in the first three months, with 66,107 units in March, which was up 18 percent year on year.

This growth was helped by brisk sales of cars compatible with E20 fuel, a blend of 20 percent ethanol and 80 percent petrol, and new model launches, Vutigorn Suriyachantananont, a Toyota executive vice-president, was quoted by a local daily as saying.

Bookings at the Bangkok International Motor Show, which ran from March 27 to April 6, were up 20 percent from the previous year to 18,338 units, indicating that April sales figures should also be good.

Vutigorn said the first-quarter performance was a good sign for the second quarter, though high fuel prices and inflation may start to hit the market.

Toyota remained the market leader in the first quarter with vehicle sales rising 17.2 percent to 67,012 units for a 41.7 percent share. Isuzu sales rose 7.4 percent to 35,988 units for a 22.4 percent share, while third-ranked Honda sold 22,437 units, up 46.3 percent, for a 14 percent share.

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