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Thai new-car glut not expected to overwhelm Australia

No impact here: Many car-makers source their Australian wares from Thailand, including Honda.

A failed Thai government incentive scheme won’t impact here, car-makers say

25 Sep 2013

A FAILED new-car buyer scheme in Thailand that has resulted in up to 100,000 owners defaulting on loans will not impact on Australia, car-makers say.

Reuters reported this week that as many as 100,000 Thai new-car owners who had taken advantage of a $3500 government-backed incentive to buy a vehicle.

The tax break has reportedly cost the Thai government about $2.5 billion, and was intended to help Asia’s car-making hub recover from devastating floods that hit the region late last year.

However, US-based global market information and analytics company IHS said about one in 10 of the 1.2 million Thai car buyers who took advantage of the scheme, which wound up late last year, had either backed out of the deals or failed to meet payments, creating a glut of near-new cars.

Australian-based car companies that source vehicles from Thailand all said the Thai glut was not likely to affect the supply of vehicles to the Australian market.

Ford sources its Fiesta city car, Focus small car and Ranger trade ute from Thailand. Australian brand communications manager Neil McDonald said he did not expect any of the vehicles to be affected by the high number of loan defaults.

“I don’t expect that there would be any hiccups to supply as the Thai scheme was largely aimed at first-time car buyers and from what I understand the incentives were for sub-1500cc small cars,” Mr McDonald said.

Mazda senior manager of public relations Steve Maciver said the BT-50 trade ute was the only Thai-sourced product that Mazda imported into Australia.

“Any change to local demand in Thailand is unlikely to have any major effect here,” Mr Maciver said.

“We had already been working to secure strong supplies of BT-50 for the coming months and supplies of all our other Japanese-sourced passenger vehicles will continue as normal.”

Holden, meanwhile, said supplies of its Colorado trade ute, which is built in Thailand alongside the Isuzu D-Max, would likewise would not be affected.

The ute dropped thousands of sales here late last year after worker-led strikes aimed at thrashing out a new wage agreement at General Motors’ Thai production plant bit seriously into Australian supplies.

Honda sources the Civic small sedan sold here from Thailand. Honda Australia public relations manager Melissa Cross said the supply of the car would not be affected.

“There won't be any implications for us here in Australia. We understand that our Thai factory is still fulfilling customer orders,” Ms Cross said.

“This factory supplies to a number of countries in our region.” Toyota Australia, which builds the HiLux trade ute in Thailand, said it would need to ask its head office in Japan if supplies would be affected.

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