Thailand’s car market has been under pressure after a package of measures to promote electric vehicle (EV) purchases was stalled before reaching Cabinet for approval.
Earlier, Energy Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow, who also acts as chairman of the electric vehicle board, said the dossier was due to go to cabinet in January.
According to an auto industry source, the review of EV promotion measures will be postponed until mid-March.
The package includes a maximum reduction of 40% in import duties for electric vehicles costing up to two million baht ($61,300) for 2022-2023, a reduction in excise tax from 8% to 2% for 2022-2025 and subsidies of 70,000 baht for vehicles up to 30 kWh and 150,000 baht for cars with larger battery capacity for 2022-2025.
To be eligible for the package, automakers must produce at least as many electric vehicles in Thailand as they import for sale by 2024.
Electric Vehicle Association of Thailand chairman Krisada Uttamote said the car market is currently under pressure as customers delay car orders pending the government’s electric vehicle promotion programme.
He called the package a good idea, saying it was needed to boost weak demand for electric vehicles after sales of just 1,900 in 2021.
MG Sales (Thailand) Vice President Pongsak Lertrudeewattanawong said customers in the electric and internal combustion engine car markets have been waiting for the government’s electric vehicle promotion program.
He added that even though electric vehicle sales are not high, the volume of electric vehicles currently available cannot meet customer demand.
“We believe this package will help drive the market, but confusion over package details is affecting customers’ decisions to buy new cars,” he said.
Car sales across all segments reached 67,000 in January, up 21% from the same period last year. However, sales rose from a low base due to the Covid-19 crisis last year.
THE NATION (THAILAND)/ASIA NEWS NETWORK