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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        21  January 2011

GM likes Thailand

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General Motors (GM) enjoyed encouraging automobile sales growth across Southeast Asia last year, with Thailand again proving its biggest regional market.

GM Thailand gained the biggest sales and market share among the regional big four. About 30,000 GM vehicles were sold in Southeast Asia last year, up by 34 percent from 2009, with the flagship Chevrolet Captiva contributing 25 percent to the total.

Overall automobile sales in Asean last year reached 2.35 million units, with GM accounting for 1.3 percent.

Martin Apfel, president of Bangkok-based GM Southeast Asia, earlier said GM had planned to raise its regional market share to 10 percent by 2013 with the introduction of many new products. "I am confident that we have the right foundation to drive the next stage of growth for GM's business across Southeast Asia and beyond - a great brand, products and people," said Mr. Apfel, who is also president of GM Thailand and Chevrolet Sales (Thailand).

GM Thailand sold 20,026 vehicles last year, increasing by 32 percent year-on-year but lagging the 46 percent industry growth orate to just over 800,000 units.

Based on the figure, GM Thailand commands a 2.5 percent share in the Thai automotive market, its biggest in the regional market.

GM sales in Indonesia grew significantly by 65 percent over 2009 numbers, outpacing the industry's growth of 57% in the same period.

Automobile sales in Indonesia were 755,000 units, the region's second-largest market, and GM had a share of just 0.6 percent. In the Philippines, where the industry grew by 12 percent or 145,000 units in 2010, GM recorded a 56 percent growth rate over 2009, bringing its market share up to 1.4 percent.

Malaysia, the third largest automobile market in Southeast Asia, sold 580,000 units in total in 2010, with growth remaining unchanged from 2009. GM's share in this market was only 0.1 percent. December was the strongest month for GM Thailand, with retail sales increasing by 34 percent over the same period in 2009. This coincided with the successful launch of the Chevrolet Cruze during the year-end Thailand International Motor Expo 2010.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More

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