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Bangkok Motor Show 2017: Many models to debut as market shows growth prospects




This year's Bangkok Motor Show, beginning on 29 March, will feature several new model launches as Japanese automakers compete for market share in Thailand by highlighting their capabilities.

IHS Markit Perspective:

  • Significance: Around 30 global automakers – including Japanese market leaders Toyota, Isuzu, and Honda – are planning to showcase a raft of new models to entice new car buyers in Thailand.
  • Implications: Automakers have revealed competitive growth targets for 2017 in Thailand to compete for control of the local market through bringing in new models and expanding their dealership networks.
  • Outlook: IHS Markit forecasts Thailand's light-vehicle sales in 2017 will grow by 5.3% year on year (y/y) to 735,542 units.

As many as 30 global automakers are expected to participate in the upcoming 2017 Bangkok Motor Show, according to the event's official website. The show will run at IMPACT Muang Thong Thani Challenger Hall in Bangkok and will be open for the public from 29 March to 9 April.

Toyota plans to showcase a refreshed version of the Vios sedan launched in January 2017 and the C-HR sport utility vehicle (SUV). The automaker will also showcase its popular models such as the Altis, Camry, Fortuner, Revo, and Yaris. Toyota also plans to display the FCV Plus, a fuel-cell concept during the show.

Nissan will use the show to display the updated Note multipurpose vehicle (MPV). Suzuki will reveal the special edition of the RX-II Swift hatchback.

Isuzu will unveil a refreshed version of the MU-X SUV. The vehicle is powered by a choice of either a 1.9- or 3.0-litre diesel engine. Each is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The vehicle also features various interior and exterior cosmetic updates and technological updates.

Honda will showcase the next-generation CR-V SUV along with updated versions of the Civic and City models.Mazda will reveal the CX-9 SUV and MX-5 RF sports car during the show. The automaker will also feature the Mazda 2 and Mazda 3 launched earlier this year. Subaru will reveal the new Impreza sedan, which will be powered by either a 1.6- or 2.0-litre petrol engine. MG plans to reveal the G10 MPV for the Thai market and General Motors (GM) Thailand plans to launch at the show the new variant of its Chevrolet Colorado pickup, the Colorado High Country STORM .

BMW will display the seventh-generation 7-Series, designed under the BMW EfficientLightweight concept, which makes the vehicle 100 kg lighter than its predecessor.BMW will also reveal a refreshed version of the 5-Series. The vehicle will be available in two trim levels: the 520d Luxury and 530i M Sport. Mini will launch the refreshed Countryman during the show. Mercedes-Benz will launch the E-Class Coupé. Audi will unveil the Q5 SUV. Porsche will launch a refreshed version of the Panamera hatchback.

Maserati plans to launch the Levante SUV. Bentley will showcase the Bentayga SUV.

Outlook and implications

New-vehicle sales in Thailand climbed 19.9% year on year (y/y) during February 2017 to 68,435 units. The strong expansion during the month can be attributed to a low base of comparison. During the same month in 2016, vehicle sales declined 10.7% y/y to 57,093 units on a sluggish economy and a hike in car prices from a new automotive excise tax. The improvement in February was also buoyed by additional working days, as the Lunar New Year holidays came in January in 2017, after falling in February in 2016.

In the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Thailand is the second-largest light-vehicle market, behind Indonesia, including passenger vehicles (PVs) and light commercial vehicles (LCVs). Thailand is forecast to account for 23.6% of ASEAN's light-vehicle sales in 2017, according to IHS Markit's light-vehicle sales forecast data.

Most automakers in the market have already declared their 2017 sales targets and growth plans for Thailand. Toyota forecasts that its sales in the country will rise 8.1% y/y to 265,000 units, giving it a market share of 33.1%, with PV sales up 27.2% y/y to 111,000 and commercial-vehicle (CV) sales down 1.8% y/y to 155,000. To achieve its target, Toyota is expected to launch this year in the country two new vehicles, which will be a B-Hatch and B-Sedan, according to our data.

Honda Thailand aims to sell 120,000 units in 2017, up 12% y/y. It also plans to increase its vehicle production by 10% y/y to 220,000 units this year. To achieve its target, the automaker has launched a refreshed version of the City model and it is expected to launch the next-generation CR-V SUV in the first quarter of 2017. Honda also plans to idle one of the two assembly lines at its plant in Ayutthaya Province by the end of March as it aims to narrow the gap between capacity and output. The automaker assembled only 200,000 units in Thailand in 2016, less than half its capacity of 420,000. The Brio and another compact model assembled at the first line in Ayutthaya will be moved to the second.

Mazda is aiming to achieve 18% y/y sales growth in 2017 to 50,000 units and to capture a market share of 6%. In a bid to achieve its target, the automaker plans to launch six new or refreshed models this year, including the CX-9 SUV and MX-5 RF sports car. Mazda also plans to open six to eight new dealership and service centres in the country this year.

Isuzu Thailand expects to register a 2% y/y gain in sales during 2017 to around 146,000 units, giving it a market share of 18%. The automaker expects sales of its pickup trucks to climb 8.3% y/y to 130,000 units this year.

IHS Markit forecasts light-vehicle sales in the country will grow by 5.3% y/y to 735,542 units in 2017, mainly on a low base of comparison, an increase in government spending, the launch of eco-cars, and the expiry of the five-year lock-up period for vehicles bought under the first-time car buyer scheme, which started in 2012. Our forecasts show that around 36 new or refreshed models will be launched in the country this year.

About this article

The above article is from IHS Automotive Same-Day Analysis of automotive news, events and trends, and is a deliverable of the World Markets Automotive Service. The service averages thirty stories per day and also provides competitor and country intelligence. Get a free trial.

About The Author

Ms. Namrita Chow is Principal Analyst at IHS Markit for the China automotive market. With over a decade in China, she has firsthand knowledge of the market, the players and the many nuances. Her expertise has helped in forecasting trends, whether within the domestic Chinese automotive market or linked to Chinese vehicle exports in other markets. She has authored special reports as well as daily news analysis, focusing on the intricacies of the vehicle market in China and is available to speak on subjects relating to the Chinese vehicle market.

Ms. Chow’s education includes a Post Graduate Certificate in Economics and Math and a Master of Science degree in Advanced Macroeconomics and Mathematics from the University of London, U.K., as well as two years of intensive Mandarin at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China.​