Mercedes-Benz sales reach new high
Contrasting the generally gloomy outlook on exports and GDP growth for Thailand, the luxury motor vehicle marketplace in Thailand reached new highs in 2015, according to figures released by Mercedes-Benz Leasing (Thailand).
The company released its sales figures for 2015 and they showed Mercedes-Benz had peaked at an all-time high of 12,776 passenger cars and commercial vehicles. 2014 had also been a good year, with sales of 11,328 vehicles, but last year outstripped this good result by a significant 1,448 units.
Admittedly, part of the reason for the surge can be put down to planned increases in retail prices once a new excise tax on vehicles starts this year. That tax is aimed at curbing carbon dioxide emissions and encouraging motor vehicle manufacturers to produce green cars at affordable prices.
Mercedes-Benz Leasing announced expectations of lending growth growing by a further 17 percent to 14 billion baht this year, with its outstanding lending portfolio growing by 15.7 percent to 35.3 billion baht.
It said outstanding loans increased 23 percent in 2015 to 30.5 billion baht, and new lending had jumped 20 percent in that time frame, to 12 billion baht.
Around 90 percent of its lending portfolio came from passenger vehicles, with the remaining 10 percent coming from Mercedes-Benz and Mitsubishi Fuso buses and trucks.
The company said its non-performing loans (NPLs) level was as low as 0.4 percent, well below the 2.5 percent NPL ratio for personal loans. The company noted that it had a stricter policy when it came to classifying a NPL. Instead of the standard 90 days being the overdue mark, Mercedes-Benz treats loans as overdue once they pass just 60 days.
The company said that while other financial institutions required, in general, a minimum down payment of 20 to 25 percent of the cost of a vehicle, Mercedes-Benz Leasing waived the need for a down payment if a buyer had a regular income and no other hire-purchase loans.
With this policy in place, the company is hoping to increase its hire-purchase programme (which it calls My Star) to 15 percent of retail sales in 2016, up from 10 percent last year.
The My Star programme was introduced in 2013 and offers a level of financial freedom when it comes to purchasing a high-end vehicle like a Mercedes-Benz, with a contract duration of between 12 and 60 months.
Mercedes-Benz currently holds a 45 percent share of the luxury car market, which consists of four major marques, and it is hoping to increase this by a modest one percent this year.