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Coup Another Hit to Thailand’s Auto Industry

Ipsos Business Consulting, in The Wall Street Journal, 05/2014

Times are getting tougher for Thailand’s auto industry. The declaration last week of a coup d’etat is fueling concern that auto sales and production in the Southeast Asian nation – which calls itself the Detroit of Southeast Asia – will take another hit.

The latest figures out show Thailand’s auto production in April fell by more than a quarter, while sales declined by more than a third from a year earlier.

Wednesday, Ipsos Business Consulting said it was lowering its full-year estimate for Thailand’s car production. The firm now expects Thailand’s production to drop 16% to 2.1 million cars and the country’s auto industry to shed 35,000 to 45,000 jobs in 2014.

“It seems clear that the industry is going to have to continue to manage costs very carefully to cope with the downturn,” said Colin Kinghorn, head of Southeast Asia for Ipsos. “Much will depend on how quickly confidence returns to the Thai market following the (declaration) of the recent coup.”

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