The industry has been bushwhacked by a barrage of bad news, both economic and political.
In 2002, 409,000 vehicles were sold, climbing to 533,000 units in 2003 and peaking at 703,000 units in 2005. Sales last year were a dismal 615,270 units.
In the first quarter, only 107,774 units were sold, sinking 33.36 per cent on year.
Vudhigorn said Toyota was going ahead with its plan to launch new models, starting with the Camry Hybrid next quarter. Pricing is being finalised.
The Japanese carmaker will try to convince the government to lower import duties on hybrid-vehicle parts, which cannot be manufactured locally. Toyota's focus this year will be on the pickup segment, which has suffered severely from diminishing demand. First-quarter pickup sales dropped more than 40 per cent on year.
Despite the poor sales outlook, Toyota will not lay off any more staff. At present, all of its plants are running on only one shift.
The Commerce Ministry is working on measures to boost automobile and other exports to help offset poor domestic sales and boost the country's export revenue.
The ceramic industry has also witnessed a 30-per-cent drop in exports. Due to the industry's poor prospects, some 1,500 workers left the industry's stronghold in Lampang province, which employed 11,000 workers last year.
Athipoom Kamthornvarin, president of the Lampang Federation of Thai Industries, said ceramic exports might drop 30 per cent to Bt1.26 billion, from Bt 1.8 billion last year.