Toyota sees sales plunge by 45%
Car maker has no plans for layoffs
Toyota Motor Thailand reported its domestic sales fell in the first half this year by 45% year-on-year to 94,222 units, but insists it will not resort to laying off employees as the company considers them a precious asset.
The company’s exports decreased by 30% to 97,000 units during the period Thailand wrestled with the Covid-19 outbreak, which weakened purchasing power, dampened consumer confidence and caused commercial banks to tighten loan conditions.
Total car sales in the country also dropped by 37.3% to 328,604 units over the first six months.
The situation caused the company to revise its business plans to survive the troubles.
“But Toyota has no policy to lay off its workers during the pandemic,” Toyota vice-president Surasak Suthongwan said. “We believe human resources are a good asset for the company.”
As local infection rates peaked in March, Toyota saw a sudden drop in demand in Thai and overseas markets, causing it to adjust production lines and better manage operation costs.
Toyota needed to temporarily shut down its manufacturing operations from April 7 to the middle of May. Its dealers also reported nearly zero customers at their showrooms.
However, Mr Surasak said the Bangkok International Motor Show, which ended late last month, helped boost demand for cars, especially sport utility vehicles (SUVs).
“Some 2,000 Corolla Cross SUVs were booked at the event, double our target,” he said.
Mr Surasak expects better sales in the months ahead if there is no recurrence of Covid-19 infections.
Thailand ranked second in the Global Covid-19 Index after Australia, and first in Asia to successfully contain the coronavirus.
This is a positive indicator for the revival of economic confidence, he said.
“This is a good sign for all industries in Thailand,” Mr Surasak said.
“If a Covid-19 vaccine is produced this year, we hope the automotive industry will recover within a few years.”
Before the outbreak, Toyota Motor Thailand predicted total market sales in Thailand of 940,000 units, with Toyota sales estimated at 310,000 units.
For the first quarter, domestic sales tallied only 200,000 units, 76% of sales in the same period last year.
Toyota managed to sell 56,200 units, 65% of its sales year-on-year.