Honda sales figures reveal bounce back

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Honda sales figures reveal bounce back

The Japanese car maker Honda appears to be bucking the poor sales figures being experienced by its major rivals in Thailand, reporting a surge in sales in the first two months of this year.

While the overall new car marketplace saw a drop of 11.8 percent in sales year-on-year to 123,670 vehicles in January and February, Honda reported it had contributed 18,892 vehicles to that figure, which was a 42.6 percent increase on its year-on-year figures.

The strong sales figures for Honda have been attributed, in part, to back orders for new cars, especially the Honda HR-V sport utility, which was launched in November 2014. That vehicle secured around 15,000 orders, only about 8,000 have been delivered to customers so far.

Honda believes its sales figures will reach between 110,000 and 120,000 vehicles for this year, which will be around a 10 percent increase on its poor 2014 figures.

In 2014, Honda sales figures dropped to 106,482 vehicles, after having reached a record 213,155 units the previous year.

It has been a series of feasts and famines for the Honda company in Thailand in recent years. In the massive floods of 2011, the Honda Ayutthaya factory was the only car plant to be inundated, forcing it to close down for six months.

The first-time car buyer scheme instituted by the ousted government of prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra in 2012 helped Honda’s sales that year, which reached 171,208 vehicles. Then followed the record year of 2013 which was immediately followed by the massive 50 percent drop last year.

Honda executives are of the opinion that the domestic car market will see sales overall of around 880,000 vehicles this year, despite the slow economic recovery. In 2012 the domestic market saw sales of 1.45 million vehicles and in 2013 this dropped only marginally to 1.33 million. In both of these years the sales figures were conflated by the effects of the first-time car buyer scheme.

Last year, the vehicle market sales fell by 33 percent, to 881,832 vehicles. This was on the back of poor economic figures, including low farm prices and the political crisis which covered the first five months of 2014.

Honda believes the true average figures for each year are between 700,000 and 900,000 vehicles per annum, so their expectation of 880,000 this year is actually in the higher, and more optimistic, range.

Honda will have a second factory opening in Prachin Buri by about March 2016. It is being tooled up to make subcompact cars, with an annual capacity of 120,000 vehicles. Production of auto parts will start in October this year.

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