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July 28, 2017updated 09 Apr 2021 12:38pm

ASEAN vehicle sales rise 8% in H1

New vehicle sales in South-east Asia’s six largest markets increased by 4.8% to 781,800 units in the second quarter of 2017, from 746,304 units in the same period of the previous year, according to data collected exclusively for just-auto by AsiaMotorBusiness.com.

New vehicle sales in South-east Asia’s six largest markets increased by 4.8% to 781,800 units in the second quarter of 2017, from 746,304 units in the same period of the previous year, according to data collected exclusively for just-auto by AsiaMotorBusiness.com.

This represents a marked slowdown from the 10.5% annualised growth reported in the first quarter and reflects slower growth in most key markets, including Thailand and Philippines, and slightly weaker sales in Malaysia and Vietnam.

Sales in the first-half of the year were still 7.6% higher at 1,605,365 units, however, compared with 1,491,546 units in the same period of last year.

Economic growth across the region was slightly stronger in the second quarter, with exports continuing to improve and as higher commodity prices continued to benefit economies in the region.

Local currencies have been more stable against the US dollar compared with last year, which has helped underpin consumer and business confidence.

The region’s largest vehicle market, Indonesia, was the only one to enjoy an actual acceleration in growth in the second quarter. Sales rose by 6.7% compared with 6.0% in the first quarter, resulting in a 6.3% first-half rise to 534,285 units – helped by low interest rates and the launch of important new models over the last two years.

Sales in Thailand expanded by 6.6% year-on-year in the second quarter, after growing by 15.9% in the first quarter – when the market rebounded from a sudden dip in the fourth quarter of 2016.

On the whole, the Thai market looks to be finally recovering from a four-year slump, helped by new models and the end of the lock-in period for tax rebates for those who bought vehicles under the government’s first-time buyer scheme over five years ago.

Malaysia’s vehicle market was marginally lower in the second quarter after a positive first quarter, despite stronger economic activity this year driven by a rebound in exports and higher commodity prices.

The region’s smaller vehicle markets were generally weaker in the second quarter, with the Philippine growth rate falling by half to 11.7% from 22.5% in the first quarter, resulting in firsat half sales rising by 17.1% to 196,164 units – based on brands affiliated to the local manufacturers association CAMPI.

Sales in Vietnam were 2.2% lower in the second quarter, paring back the first-half gain to 1.5% with125,487 sales; while sales in Singapore were flat in the second quarter and just 2.3% higher at 54,922 units in the first half of the year.

Indonesia

Indonesia’s new vehicle market expanded by 6.7% to 250,959 units in the second quarter of 2017, from 235,227 units in the same period of last year, according to data released by industry association Gaikindo.

Sales increased by 6.3% to 534,285 units in the first six months of the year from 502,531 units a year earlier, as low interest rates and new models launched in the last two years continued to drive demand.

The key compact MPV segment continues to get more competitive, with the imminent launch of the locally-produced Wuling Confero to take on the established models such as the Toyota Avanza, Daihatsu Xenia, Honda’s BR-V and Mobilio, and the Nissan Grand Livina.

Second-quarter GDP growth is expected to come in at 5.1% year-on-year, slightly higher than the revised 5.0% growth reported in the first quarter, with a recovery in exports and higher commodity prices helping to keep growth on track.

The association expects the domestic vehicle market to continue to grow moderately this year, with full-year sales forecast to rise by 4% to 1.1 million units.

Thailand

New vehicle sales in Thailand continued to grow in the second quarter of 2017, by 6.6% to 199,486 units from 187,070 units a year earlier, according to wholesale data collected by the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI).

This was a slower rate of growth than the 15.9% year-on-year increase in first quarter, when the market rebounded from the sudden drop in the fourth quarter of 2016 when the country mourned the loss of King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

In the first half of 2017 the market expanded by 11.2% to 409,976 units from 368,630 units in the same period of last year.

The market looks to be finally recovering from four straight years of decline, which culminated in a 4% drop to 768,788 units last year compared with peak volumes of 1.43 million units in 2012.

Sales growth in recent months have been lifted by a pick-up in economic activity in the country, new model launches, aggressive marketing and discounting by dealers, and the end of the lock-up period for tax rebates for those who bought cars under the government’s first-time buyer scheme over five years ago.

Passenger vehicle sales increased by 25% year-on-year to 161,480 units in the first six months of 2017, with eco-cars rising by 23.5% to 53,100 units. Sales of commercial vehicles, including pickup trucks, increased by just 3.8% to 248,496 units in this period.

At the beginning of the year the FTI forecast full-year sales to rise by around 4% to 800,000 units, but it may revise upwards these estimates following the market’s strong first-half performance.

Malaysia

Malaysia’s new vehicle market was flat in the second quarter, with sales slipping by 0.4% to 143,622 units from 144,232 units a year earlier, according to data released by the Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA).

The second-quarter decline includes a 12.4% year-on-year fall in June, mainly attributed to the annual Hari Raya Muslim holidays which fall a month earlier every year. It reversed an almost equivalent year-on-year rise in the previous month.

Despite the fall in June, the vehicle market looks to have stabilized this year after declining by 13% to 580,123 units in 2016 – following six years of continuous growth.

Economic growth in the country has rebounded in recent months on stronger domestic consumption and export growth. Annualised GDP growth came in at 5.6% in the first quarter, compared with 4.5% in the fourth quarter of 2016, and similar growth is estimated for the second quarter.

The MAA expects only a slight improvement in sales in 2017, to around 590,000 units, with demand underpinned by new models and aggressive marketing.

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