Car production in Thailand fell 19.28% in February from a year earlier to 133,690 units, the Federation of Thai Industries said on Tuesday, largely due to a decline in production of pickup trucks and more imported electric vehicles (EVs).

The figure compared with January's 12.46% year-on-year drop.

Car exports were up 0.22% year-on-year.

Thailand is Southeast Asia's biggest autos production centre and an export base for some of the world's top carmakers, including Toyota and Honda, with pickup trucks among the key vehicles manufactured.

In recent years, Chinese EV brands like BYD and Great Wall Motor have been making inroads into the Thai auto sector, helped by government tax incentives and subsidies.

This week, higher-end EV brands from China will make their debut at Thailand's annual motor show. Altogether, Chinese automakers have poured $1.44 billion into production facilities.

Sales are down due to pick-up trucks from tightening rules from financial institutions, FTI automotive spokesperson Surapong Paisitpatanapong said, adding that sales of traditional passenger vehicles fell 41%.

The FTI has predicted car production at 1.9 million vehicles this year after 1.84 million made in 2023, a 2.2% drop year-on-year. Car sales in Thailand in February totalled 52,843 units, said Surapong.

(Reporting by Orathai Sriring and Satawasin Staporncharnchai; Editing by Martin Petty)