Honda projects lower motorcycle sales for 2019

Honda Motor Company, the manufacturer of nearly 80% of Thailand’s motorcycles, is projecting another annual loss this year.

New motorcycle sales this year are forecast to drop nearly 4% year on year to 1.72 million units. The forecast is unchanged from its January projection.

The baht’s appreciation against the US dollar is leading to fluctuations in exports and lower prices in agricultural products. This in turn results in declining purchasing power for farmers, a large proportion of buyers of new motorcycles in Thailand.

The local company, which holds an 80% share of Southeast Asia’s third-largest motorcycle market, smaller only than Indonesia and Vietnam, saw the first drop in annual sales in three years in 2018 to 1.4 million units, down 1.4% from the previous year.

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Despite the challenges, along with uncertainty from the March 24 election, the Thai manufacturing unit of the world’s largest motorcycle maker posted a 0.7% year-on-year sales increase in the family-use segment in the first two months of this year to 154,000 units.

But it suffered a 22.5% plunge in sales in the sport model segment to 31,000 units over the same period, according to the Bangkok Post.

Agricultural product pricing and farm incomes are showing no clear improvement, with prices of some significant products like palm oil and rubber falling, according to the latest report from the Office of Agricultural Economics.

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