By: Anonymous: BBKpost ()  Saturday, 12 January 2013 @ 08:47 AM ICT (Read 1298 times)  

AP Honda, the local distributor of the Japanese company's motorcycles, expects sales growth of 4% this year to 1.55 million units. It has played down fears of negative effects from higher excise taxes on big bikes under the new tax structure.

"This year is expected to be a good year for the [motorcycle] industry, thanks to several positive factors including sound GDP growth of 5.5%, increased agricultural prices and the tourism boom," said sales director Suchart Arunseangroj.

AP Honda expects to sell 1.55 million motorcycles in a total market forecast to grow 7% to 2.15 million units in 2013, he said.

Last year, AP Honda sold 1.49 million motorcycles, pushing its market share to 70%. "Growth of 4% is normal for every year. In 2012, the market expanded by 7% because of the impact of floods the year before," Mr Suchart said.

Excise tax increases will not have a big impact on overall sales, though they will affect big bikes with a cylinder capacity of 500cc or more, Mr Suchart said. Most motorbikes sold in Thailand are 150cc or below, for which taxes remain the same.

The new tax structure, effective from Jan 1, requires motorbikes of 500cc and above to pay 2% more on top of the existing 3% levied on ex-factory prices, Mr Suchart said.

AP Honda revised its forecast for big bike sales in the overall market this year to 7,000 units, down from previous forecasts of 8,000. Honda will account for 3,000 of those motorcycles, he said.

Mr Suchart said the big bike market is still expected to grow, from 5,900 units last year and 2,800 in 2011.

The new nationwide minimum wage of 300 baht is expected to stimulate the purchase of motorcycles, especially in the middle and lower end of the market, Mr Suchart said.

Mr Suchart said the company will open 194 new sales outlets by the end of the year, adding to its 1,250 sales and service outlets in the country.

AP Honda launched five motorbike models yesterday to strengthen its leadership in the sector.

Mr Suchart said many more models will be released this year.

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