Thai Honda Co., a prominent motorcycles manufacturer and distributor, is anticipating a slight decline in domestic sales this year, with expectations ranging from 1.7 to 1.75 million units. This projected decrease is attributed to regulatory adjustments implemented to manage high household debt.
In the previous year, motorcycle sales in Thailand reached a total of 1.88 million units. Shigeto Kimura, the president of Thai Honda, highlighted that the impact of these measures is expected to subside over the long term.
For 2024, sales of Honda motorcycles are estimated to range from 1.3 to 1.35 million units, compared to 1.47 million units in 2023. The regulations, jointly developed by the Bank of Thailand and the Fiscal Policy Office, focus on overseeing auto hire-purchase and vehicle leasing, being effective as of November 1, 2023.
The initiative aims to safeguard the country’s financial stability by ensuring that household debt remains at a suitable level, averting consumers from being excessively burdened. Household debt was reported to be over 90% of GDP last year.
When considering sales factors for 2024, Mr. Kimura pointed to the potential impact of tourism recovery and the government’s visa-free scheme aimed at increasing foreign arrivals. He also noted that higher crop prices may enhance farmers’ income; however, this is not expected to substantially boost motorcycle sales.
Thai Honda observed that, within the country’s total motorcycle sales, the automatic category accounted for a 49% market share last year, followed by the family category (47%), sports (3%), and battery-operated motorcycles (1%).
Reflecting on last year’s performance, Mr. Kimura attributed Thai Honda’s sales success to the introduction of the new model Giorno Plus. While acknowledging the decline in domestic car sales, particularly in the pure pickup segment due to stricter loan criteria imposed by banks, he expressed confidence that motorcycle sales would not experience a similar downturn. This belief stems from the essential nature of motorcycles and the likelihood of lenders competing by offering appealing packages.
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