A man looks at a luxury car at Motor Expo at Impact Muangthong Thani on Nov 30, 2021. (Photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)
The luxury car market in Thailand is expected to keep expanding with double-digit growth this year, despite the impact of lockdown measures implemented to contain the spread of Covid-19.
Demand for cars and the purchasing power of prospective buyers remain strong in these segments, making Thailand a target market for upper-end car manufacturers, said Teeraphong Rodloy, country manager of Wearnes Automotive Thailand, the importer and distributor of Lotus Cars, the British sports racing automaker.
“Car companies see demand for premium and luxury cars grow every year, while other segments encounter strong competition,” he said.
Lotus Cars expects sales in the premium segment in Thailand to stand at around 30,000 units a year. Sales volume in the luxury car segment is lower, with around 100 units annually, according to its estimate.
This year, only six Lotus cars are available for “exclusive booking” in Thailand at prices starting at 11.9 million baht because these vehicles are in high demand, which leads to booking records in many countries, said Mr Teeraphong.
Many drivers are attracted to the impressive record of Lotus racing cars, the seven-time champions of the Formula One circuit.
“This year’s Motor Expo marks the first time in six years Lotus Cars is bringing new car models to showcase to Thai sports car lovers,” said Mr Teeraphong.
Recently Lotus Cars appointed Wearnes Automotive Thailand as its dealer, seller, after-sales service provider and marketing planner in order to strengthen its brand image in Thailand and the rest of Southeast Asia. More cars from assembly plants in the UK and China will be imported to Thailand.
“We will launch more car models, especially electric vehicles [EVs],” he said.
Mr Teeraphong said Lotus will stop making internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles as the US and European countries plan to ban such cars and have EVs make up 50% of cars by 2030.
Lotus also plans to introduce electric sports utility vehicles (SUVs), with China the first country to see sales. Electric SUVs are targeted at younger drivers and will be made at its factory in China for domestic and export markets. The production facility in the UK will focus on electric luxury cars for domestic sales and export.
Mr Teeraphong said Wearnes is in talks with Lotus to sell electric SUVs in Thailand next year if the Chinese market proves successful.