Thailand's TIV dropped by 21.4% in 2020 when compared to 2019. Sales is projected to increase by 8.7% (YoY growth rate) in 2021 to 861,000 units.
The commercial vehicle (CV) segment continues to dominate with a 56.6% share, and it is projected to reach 57.3% in 2021, driven by government stimulus measures in response to the pandemic. Diesel powertrain sales rose from 54.0% in 2019 to 56.8% in 2020, propelled by the high demand for the new Isuzu D-Max and the updated Toyota Hilux.
Vehicles with engine capacity less than 1,300 cc are the most popular segment in the Thailand passenger vehicle (PV) market (28.5% market share in 2020). Demand is driven by the eco-car models offered with downsized engine specifications. Given both import tax and vehicle excise tax privileges for BEVs, particularly for Chinese imports, a sales spurt was observed in 2020.
However, sales volumes continue to be smaller than other sub-segments, mainly due to the lack of variety and charging infrastructure bottlenecks. Although total CV segment sales volumes dropped due to poor economic activity, particularly in the tourism and the manufacturing industries, pickup trucks continued to dominate this space.
In 2020, EV market TIV was 13,570 units, a 38.9% rise from the total units sold in 2019. The market is expected to see an increase of 106.3%, YoY, and reach around 28,000 units in 2021.
Overall, the BEV segment recorded the strongest growth (83.7% increase in 2020) due to the increased availability of SAIC MG's BEV imports for the mass market and the good reception received by premium BEVs, particularly the Porsche Taycan and the Tesla Model 3. The entry of Great Wall Motors, Volvo, and BMW will elevate the segment's offtakes in 2021.
Luxury PVs have dominated the PHEV market, while mass-market marques such as SAIC MG and Mitsubishi only began to launch PHEVs in late 2020. The EV market is still skewed toward PHEV models, mainly due to the range anxiety caused by the limited network of charging facilities outside Bangkok and the high prices compared to conventional engine model equivalents.
The global pandemic and the domestic political turmoil resulted in declining economic growth in 2020, which affected new vehicle sales. These disruptions are likely to have a medium-to-long-term effect on the automotive industry, and recovery is expected to be moderate.
PV sales is forecast to improve and grow in 2021 due to proactive marketing schemes, product launches, and the entry of new market participants. CV segment recovery will be driven by LCVs, mainly for the eCommerce industry.