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SE Asian car sales inch up despite several faltering markets

Thai sales plunge 15% in November as consumers shy away from big purchases

BANGKOK -- November new-car sales in Southeast Asia's six major economies crept up 0.6% on the year to 286,524 vehicles, as bullish buying in top market Indonesia helped overcome a major slump in Thailand.

Sales of new automobiles in Thailand plummeted 15% year-on-year to 64,771 units, the most drastic drop in 17 months. A Bangkok Toyota Motor dealership said that even in December, "sales were still 10-to-15% down" from the level before the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej in October. Mourning consumers have shown particular restraint on big purchases such as cars and luxury items.

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