New vehicle sales in the ASEAN region’s six main markets grew by just 4.9% to 888,240 units in the second quarter of 2013, from 847,105 units a year earlier, according to data compiled by AsiaMotorBusiness.com from various industry sources.

First-half regional sales increased by close to 16% to 1.83m units, from 1.58m units a year earlier, however, thanks mainly to the 28% growth reported in the first quarter.

The second-quarter slowdown reflects tighter lending in Indonesia, progress towards market normalisation in Thailand following the expiry of government incentives, and policy uncertainty in Malaysia.

First-quarter regional growth also was abnormally high, flattered by unusually weak year earlier data in Thailand and elsewhere, when supply of pickup trucks and passenger cars was disrupted by floods. This was less of an issue in the second quarter of 2012.

Overall economic growth in the region weakened in the second quarter, with investment growth and exports slowing and with declining commodity prices affecting activity in the plantations and mining sectors.

Sales growth in the Philippines also slowed sharply in the second quarter, to 8.4% year-on-year compared with first quarter growth of close to 22%. This follows three years of high sales volumes thanks to record low interest rates.

Vehicle sales in Vietnam rebounded strongly in the second quarter, by close to 45% year-on-year to 24,946 units, reflecting a series of interest rate cuts over the last year and improving access to credit. Automotive taxation remains very high, however, which puts new vehicles out of the reach for many and encourages imports of used vehicles. First-half sales grew by over 23% to 43,971 units.

Full analysis here