Feb. 01 --About 25% of motorcycle purchasers will likely default on their loans, as the caretaker government has delayed payments to farmers under the rice pledging scheme, says the Thai unit of the Japanese maker Yamaha Motor Co. Last year, the default rate of Yamaha customers on dealer leasing was 10%, as dealers in the North, Northeast and South offered financing by themselves to customers instead of through a partnership with leasing companies. Similar to loans offered by financial institutions, non-performing loans at Yamaha dealers are classified as such after payment defaults for three consecutive months. Praphan Polthanasit, the chief operating officer at Thai Yamaha Motor Co, said default payments are a major risk for motorcycle dealers this year. Most plan to increase their down payment amounts to 20% from zero now. "Dealers upcountry normally offer customers zero down payment, so the loan amount is high. But this method is riskier for the dealer," he said. Of course, higher down payments might result in lower motorcycle sales in 2014, said Mr Praphan . Thai Yamaha forecasts overall vehicle sales will dip to 1.8 million units this year, down by 10.2% in 2013. Last year, new motorcycles registered with the Land Transport Department numbered 2 million units, down by 5.87% from 2012. Thai Yamaha projects domestic motorcycle sales will increase to 1.9 million in 2015 and 2016. For Yamaha, sales are projected to fall by 3.49% to 360,000 units this year, from a base of 373,000 units in 2013. ___ (c)2014 the Bangkok Post (Bangkok, Thailand) Visit the Bangkok Post (Bangkok, Thailand) at www.bangkokpost.com Distributed by MCT Information Services
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