KResearch projects that Thai car exports overall may contract 2.7 percent to 1,110,000 units in 2019, dampened by a number of factors. These include the protracted trade war, stronger Baht and substantial declines in our automobile shipments to major markets, namely Australia, as they are experiencing the economic downturn. However, Thai pick-up truck exports continue to thrive. We expect that such shipments will grow 2.4 percent to 626,000 units in 2019, whereas other types of car exports to most markets may shrink.
Over the long-term, KResearch views that although Thai car shipments overall will benefit from investments in the manufacturing of new car models, which are mostly passenger cars geared for export, our pick-up truck exports, which account for over 29 percent of Thailand's car shipments, largely to Europe, North America and the Middle East, could decline in the future if Japanese carmakers decide to relocate production close to these markets despite promising export outlook seen in Asia and Oceania. Nevertheless, if Thailand is able to entered into free trade agreements (FTAs) with Europe, North America and the Middle East, this will help prevent our pick-up truck exports to decline to below USD760 million in the future.