If we take a look at the sales that were generated at the Motor Expo 2022 show that took place at the Impact Challenger Arena in December last year, Japanese motor manufacturers seem to have a stranglehold on the Thailand car market at the moment. The event, which attracted over a million visitors, has released the sales figures and the revenue generated over the twelve days that it ran. Orders were taken for nearly 43,000 vehicles, 6,000 of which were motorcycles. Of the near 37,000 cars sold, the top five in popularity was headed by Toyota and followed by four more Japanese manufacturers, accounting for nearly two thirds of all the vehicles sold. The modern version of the always trendy Lambretta headed the bike list with nearly 2,000 sales, followed by Yamaha. The electric car giant BYD headed that category with over 2,700 units and they were closely followed by MG with over 2,400. MG are really making headway in the Thai market and have re-invented themselves very well over the last decade or so. Old English ex-pats like myself remember the name being dead and buried many years ago so this incursion back into the market is all the more commendable.


Volvo Thailand have come up with something interesting for the recharging of their electric car range. They have opened solar carport charging stations at four of their dealerships, which is available to Volvo customers free of charge. I have always wondered how the question of where the extra energy would come from as the electric vehicle market increased and this could be one possible solution. Of course there is no question that electric vehicles help enormously with emissions but when you plug into the power grid to charge up your car, that energy has to come from somewhere. That somewhere will usually be a power station that burns fossil fuel and only adds to the problem of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The solar carport idea means that you are recharging your car with renewable energy direct from source, which not only means that you don’t contribute to air pollution but you make considerable savings too. Volvo have apparently made a commitment to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 50% over three years, not an easy Thing to do I would have thought, and this innovation will go some way to reaching that target. If this idea really takes off I could see space being an issue in the future. I can’t imagine spending billions on some land in Bangkok and using it to let Volvo drivers recharge their cars! It looks like an idea well worth pursuing though and this continued innovation from the car makers is good to see.


The automotive producers in Thailand are expecting sales to pick up in 2023, principally after the general election in May. The industry has slowed since October last year in the wake of rising inflation and increasing interest rates but it is widely believed in most parts of Asia that elections increase confidence and people are more willing to spend their money in the long term. Whether this applies to Thailand or not is another question but alongside the recovery from the pandemic the makers are hopeful of an upturn in sales in the second half of the year. A long term semi-conductor shortage also held up the growing electric car market and is expected to continue to do so throughout the coming year. In spite of that, the EV market in the Kingdom is a target for some of the biggest manufacturers around and their will be a concerted effort in the coming year to woo the Thai motorist over to electric.

Of course what Thailand really needs is a massive improvement in its road safety figures. No matter where you get the statistics, the numbers are awful and have been in all the twelve years I have lived here, with no improvement in sight. The information released concerning the recent Christmas and new year only confirm that. Whoever runs the country after the election in May has to make a long term commitment to the education of drivers throughout the country. Not an easy task.

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