Thailand exported 93,840 cars last month, down by 10.21 per cent year-on-year due to a shortage of parts and semiconductors for some car models, the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) said on April 25.

“However, car export in March rose 18.11 per cent compared to February,” FTI vice-president and spokesman Surapong Paisitpattanapong said.

In the first quarter of 2022, Thailand exported 243,124 cars, down 5.81 per cent year-on-year. However, the value of cars and components exported in the first quarter came in at 217.60 billion baht ($6.39 billion), up 2.82 per cent year-on-year, he added.

A shortage of parts and semiconductors had triggered a global decline in the manufacturing and export of cars, he said.

Surapong also said it is necessary to monitor the Russia-Ukraine conflict as it will intensify a shortage of parts and semiconductors.

Surapong explained that if the conflict is prolonged, then the global production of cars will drop by about 2.8 million vehicles.

Meanwhile, some automakers have also stopped taking reservations for electric vehicles due to the Covid-19 lockdown in Shanghai, China, where many large semiconductor manufacturers are located, he added.

Thailand manufactured 172,671 cars in March alone, up 6.25 per cent year-on-year. Of them, 87,133 were produced for the local market, up 32.16 per cent year-on-year.

He added that 480,078 cars were manufactured in the first quarter, up 3.06 per cent year-on-year, while 87,245 were sold locally in March, up 9.1 per cent year-on-year. Local first-quarter sales came in at 231,189 cars, up 19.09 per cent year-on-year, and 448,147 motorcycles, up 2.92 per cent year-on-year.

He put the surge in local sales down to the easing of lockdown and the launching of government measures to relieve the Covid-19 fallout. He said these government schemes resulted in more cash going into circulation and a boost in people’s purchasing power.

However, he added, it was necessary to monitor the Covid-19 crisis and surging product prices as well as household debts as they will make the economy slow down, he added.