New vehicle sales in the Asean region’s six largest markets combined increased by over 19% to 777,849 units in the second quarter of 2022 from 652,582 units in the same period of last year, according to data compiled by GlobalData from various industry sources including vehicle manufacturers, trade associations and government departments. This follows growth of over 23% in the first quarter, as economies in the region continued to rebound from last year’s lockdowns.
Second-quarter market growth was driven mainly by strong rebounds in Malaysia and Vietnam from depressed year-earlier volumes, as supply chain disruptions continued to ease, while sales activity also picked up in the Philippines. By contrast, sales growth in the region’s two largest auto markets, Indonesia and Thailand, slowed sharply after they strongly outperformed in the previous quarter, with rising inflation and slowing global growth beginning to impact consumer and business confidence.
Overall economic growth across the region remained strong in the second quarter, underpinned by a return of international tourism in May. Interest rates were kept at historically lows in Indonesia and Thailand, despite surging inflation and weakening currencies against the US dollar, while the central banks of the Philippines and Malaysia began to hike in the second quarter.
Indonesia was the largest market in the first half of the year, with sales rising by almost 21% to 375,321 unts, followed by Thailand with 15% growth to 426,730 units and Malaysia with 331,386 units. The only market to post a decline was Singapore, with sales falling by one-third to 21,831 units.
Sales in Vietnam surged by 38% to 107,637 units in the second quarter, according to data released by the Vietnam Automotive Manufacturers Association (Vama ), as economic grow rebounded by 7.7% from weak year-earlier levels on strong consumer spending. This brought the year-to-date total to 200,162 – up by over 26% year-on-year.
Second-quarter sales in the Philippines, excluding data from members of the AViD importers’ association, rose by over 28% to 80,120 units from weak year-earlier levels, lifting the six-month total by close to 17% to 154,874 units.
New vehicle sales in Indonesia increased by just over 2% to 211,499 units in the second quarter of 2022 from 206,448 units in the same period of last year, according to data released by local industry association Gaikindo. The market has lost significant growth momentum in recent months, after rebounding strongly from the pandemic lows, despite Bank Indonesia keeping interest rates at historically low levels to underpin domestic consumption even as inflation continued to surge.
Economic activity is expected to have slowed moderately in the second quarter from 5% year-on-year growth in the first quarter, reflecting rising inflation and higher taxes, despite strong export activity and a return of international tourism.
At the end of March the government discontinued the luxury tax holiday on vehicles with engines up to 1500cc and tax discounts on vehicles with engines between 1500cc-2500cc, which were put in place to support the market during the pandemic. These were replaced in the second quarter by a luxury tax discount of 66% on passenger vehicles costing up to IDR200m (US$13,300), comprising mostly Low-Cost Green Cars (LCGC), falling to 33% in the third quarter. Smaller tax discounts are available on passenger vehicles with engines up to 1500cc and costing between IDR200m and IDR250m.
Vehicle prices have also been affected by the long-awaited switch to EUR4 emission standards and a hike in the VAT rate from 10% to 11% at the end of March. The government is looking to increasingly incentivise vehicles based on emissions levels, with electric vehicles enjoying full luxury tax holidays and hybrids also benefiting from significant tax discounts.
Total vehicle sales in the first half of the year were up by almost 21% at 475,321 units from 393,469 units a year earlier, with passenger vehicle sales rising by 22% to 355,303 units while commercial vehicle sales increased by over 17% to 120,018 units.
Toyota reported a sales rise of close to 23% to 149,461 in the first six months of the year, driven by the all-new popular Avanza compact MPV, the Raize small crossover vehicle and the new Rush compact SUV. Daihatsu’s sales rose by 21% to 90,343 units, lifted by the Rocky and the new Terios; while Honda’s sales increased by 29% to 62,585 units, helped by the recent launch the new HR-V, BR-V and Mobilio models. Mitsubishi ’s first-half sales rose by over 7% to 51,296 units, while Suzuki ’s sales were more than 14% higher at 41,413 units.
New vehicle sales in Thailand increased by less than 8% to 195,541 units in the second quarter of 2022 from 181,242 a year earlier, according to wholesale data released by The Federation Of Thai Industries (FTI). This was sharply lower than the 22% year-on-year growth seen in the first quarter, with the federation blaming increasing economic headwinds including high household debt and surging inflation.
The domestic economy continued to recover from the last years Covid restrictions in the second quarter, with the government continuing to ease travel restrictions which has helped the country’s all-important tourism sector rebound from last year’s lows. Bank of Thailand kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged at a historic low of 0.5% to further support the domestic economic recovery, despite surging inflation due to rising energy and commodity prices. Second quarter GDP growth is expected to be in line with the 2.2% growth seen in the first quarter.
Domestic vehicle sales in the first six months of the year increased by over 15% to 426,730 units compared with 370,335 units in the same period of last year, driven by strong demand for passenger cars and pickup trucks. The data exclude some significant brands, particularly commercial vehicles by Chinese and European manufacturers and also BMW and Mercedes-Benz passenger vehicles.
The FTI’s automotive club revised down his domestic market outlook for 2022 to 850,000 units, still a 12% rise on last year’s 759,199 sales, while leaving unchanged its full-year vehicle export forecast at 900,000 units despite an 11% drop in June. Toyota raised its own full-year sales forecast to 290,000 units, a 21% increase on last year.
Registrations of new vehicles in Malaysia rebounded by 56% to 171,634 units in the second quarter of 2022 from depressed year-earlier sales of 109,679 units, according to registration data released by the Malaysia Automotive Association (MAA).
The vehicle market continued to recover strongly from last year’s Covid lockdowns in the second quarter, supported by the suspension of the 10% sales and service tax which expired at the end of June. Vehicles ordered before this deadline will still qualify for the tax cut if delivered before the end of March 2023, however.
After growing by 5% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2022, economic activity is expected to have picked up momentum in the second quarter as the rebound from last year’s lockdowns continued. Full-year GDP growth is widely forecast to exceed 6%, despite rising interest rates – with the central bank having hiked twice by 25 basis points in the last few months to 2.25%.
Total vehicle sales in the first half of 2022 rose by 33% to 331,386 units from 249,178 in the same period of last year, with passenger vehicle sales rising by over 31% to 293,540 units while commercial vehicle sales surged by 49% to 37,846 units.
Market leader Perodua saw its first-half sales rise by over 31% to 127,343 units, driven by popular models such as the Myvi, Axia and Bezza. Earlier this month the company said it had received 30,000 orders for the new 1.5L Alza model ahead of its launch at the end of July.
Proton said its global sales increased by almost 4% to 60,124 units in the first six months of the year, as supply chain shortages began to ease following significant disruption in recent months. The company continues to enjoy strong demand for locally-made Geely-based models such as the X70 and X50 SUVs. Exports jumped by 81% to 2,722 units year-to-date, mainly to markets such as Pakistan, Egypt and Brunei.
UMW Toyota reported an almost 35% jump in first-half sales to 45,911 units, thanks to strong demand for models such as the locally assembled Corolla Cross Hybrid and the Hilux pickup truck.
Honda Malaysia launched the new-generation HR-V SUV this month and said it has received 20,000 bookings so far.
The MAA said it now expects full year sales to rise by to 630,000 vehicles in 2022, compared with its earlier forecast of 600,000 units.