January 16, 2018 / 8:16 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Toyota sees 3.4 pct rise in 2018 total Thailand domestic car sales

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BANGKOK, Jan 16 (Reuters) - Thailand’s total domestic car sales are expected at 900,000 units this year, up 3.4 percent from 2017, Toyota Motor Corp’s Thai unit said on Tuesday.

Toyota, which commands about a third of the Thai market, estimates its own 2018 car sales in the Southeast Asian nation at 300,000 vehicles, up 24.9 percent from last year, the company said in a news conference.

“Toyota’s exports of completely built up units (CBU) are expected to be maintained at 300,000 units due to situations in the Middle East, one of the most important export markets,” Toyota Motor Thailand’s President Michinobu Sugata said in a statement.

The company’s exports to the Middle East declined on low oil prices last year, Executive Vice President Chatchai Taveeesakulvadchara said.

However, the company believes that exports to the U.S. and Australia would help it achieve targets, Sugata added.

Thailand is a regional production and export hub for the world’s top carmakers, and the sector accounts for about 12 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product. (Reporting by Chayut Setboonsarng; Writing by Orathai Sriringl; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier and Vyas Mohan)

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