Thailand Motorcycles Market started the 2019 losing moderately while the full year outlook is still positive. Honda, market leader, was stable, while strong performance were reported by Piaggio and Harley Davidson. Following the record established last year, BMW is struggling and Ducati as well.
Market Trend – 2019
According to data released by the Thai Minister of Transportation, the start of 2019 was moderately negative with sales down 4% in January, with 148.932 registrations, flat in February with 145.419 units and partially recovered in March, with 167.854 sales (+2.0%)
The first quarter figures were 462.205 (-0.6%).
Looking at the single brand performance, huge difference are in place. Indeed, while the market leader, Honda is stable, with 366.615 sales (+1.7% while just few players are gaining, like Piaggio (+17.6%) and Harley Davidson (+130.7%).
The most started very badly, with BMW reporting a -22.5%, Stallions -54.7%, Ducati -37.1%, GPX -27.3%.
The outlook for the rest of the year is positive with expectations for a moderate increase from the full year 2018 with volume at 1.85 million units.
Global Production Hub
Thailand is a major motorcycle manufacturing base ranking in 5th place as regard to the production capacity (2 million), after China (23 million units), India (20 million), Indonesia (8 million) and Vietnam (3 million).
Thailand started the 1st motorcycle manufacturing in 1967 under the CKD system.
At the beginning decade of 1990, Thailand promoted the investment of four-stroke engine motorcycle instead of the two-stroke one to reduce emission problem and the production boosted reaching a capacity of 1.75 million annual units. The sales of motorcycles followed the development of the country representing the first device of personal mobility.
In the following years, while introducing Free Trade Agreements (FTA) which caused the cancellation of industrial protection measure, the industry started to export and to evolve in line with the global demand, learning new technologies and adopting state of the art rules for safety and emissions.
Nowadays, there are 7 motorcycle manufacturers in Thailand with total capacity of production at 3 million units per year. They are Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki, BMW, Triumph and Ducati. Most of them are located in the Central and East regions because they are clusters of manufacturer as well as near to the seaport for export those CBUs.
Recent Market Trend
Thai two-wheeler domestic market boomed since mid 90′ and kept growing fast until the 2012 when sales hit the still actual All Time Record with 2.1 million units sold. In the following years market declined to just over 1.6 million units (2015) before to record at 1.8 million.
Indeed, according to data released by the local Thai Minister of Transportation, in the 2018 the demand was flat with final sales at 1.78 million units, down 1.2% from the previous year.
The seven manufacturer having local production have a clear advantage in the domestic market, but they have to fight against an aggressive group of local brands.
Looking at the full year figures, the leader was the Japanese Honda with a huge market share of 78% (the second highest in the World, after the Brazilian case), having sold near 1.4 million units last year, down 1.6% from the previous..
In second place Yamaha, with 269.489 (+0.5%) ahead of GPX with 29.666 (-4.2%), Suzuki with 19.165 (-10.6%) and Piaggio with 17.758 (+21.6%).
The Premium brands segment is growing and several new manufacturers entered the market in recent years, but while BMW (+17.2%) shined, hitting in the 2018 their record, others are struggling, Ducati overall, down 16.1% last year, third lost in a row, selling less than one/third of 2015, despite the local plant.