Monday, May 12, 2014

Thailand Auto Makers Bet on Pickup Trucks

Via Kathy Chu, WSJ

Thai auto makers have a secret weapon to combat slumping domestic car sales: Farmers.

Farmers are reliable customers for pickup trucks, which they use to transport crops and machines. Pickup trucks are also popular with miners and construction workers. These groups are boosting sales of pickup trucks in parts of Southeast Asia at a faster rate than passenger-car sales, according to data provider LMC Automotive.

That’s why, with car sales expected to fall in Thailand by nearly a quarter to about 1 million vehicles this year, some auto makers are focusing on selling pickup trucks. Sales of pickup trucks in Thailand are falling too, but less rapidly than passenger cars—by about 20% to 421,574 vehicles this year, LMC Automotive estimates. And demand for pickups in other parts of Southeast Asia still is growing.


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