Q4 sales fall in Thailand and Vietnam
New vehicle sales in the ASEAN region’s six largest markets combined declined slightly in the fourth quarter of 2022 to an estimated 920,000 units, after growing strongly in previous quarters, according to data compiled from various industry sources including vehicle manufacturers, trade associations and government departments.
The decline reflected a number of factors, including strong year earlier data when markets rebounded strongly from their pandemic lows, ongoing shortages of semiconductors, while deliveries in Thailand were negatively affected by localised flooding in the final two months of the year. Sales in Vietnam plunged by 35% in the fourth quarter, while growth was much slower in other markets.
Economic growth across the region remained strong in the fourth quarter, however, lifted by a rebound in international travel and tourism in the second half of the year, strong demand for commodities, rising investment and domestic consumption. Most markets in the region have now returned to pre-pandemic levels, with strongest growth last year reported in Malaysia, of almost 42% to a record 720,658 units, followed by the Philippines and Vietnam. Indonesia was by far the largest market in the region after sales rose by over 18% to 1,048,040 vehicles or close to 31% of the regional total.
New vehicle sales surged by over 36% to 104,442 units in the fourth quarter of 2022 from 76,549 units a year earlier, based on data released jointly by the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc (CAMPI) and the Truck Manufacturers Association (TMA). The market has already rebounded to pre-pandemic levels, with full-year sales, including estimates for non-affiliated brands, having risen by almost 29% to 369,000 units from 285,694 units in 2021. GDP was estimated to have expanded by 7.6% last year, driven by strong consumer spending and investment. The central bank raised its benchmark interest rate by a further 50 basis points to 5.5% in December, its highest level since 2009, in response to surging inflation.
Sales plunged by 35% to 93,112 units in the fourth quarter of 2022 from a very strong 142,852 units in the same period a year earlier, when the market rebounded strongly from the pandemic lows. The data, released by the Vietnam Automotive Manufacturers Association (VAMA), did not include some key brands such as local startup VinFast, Mercedes-Benz and Hyundai passenger vehicles. Full year sales rose by over 29% to 358,063 units from 312,926 units a year earlier, reflecting economic growth of over 8% last year, driven by 10% growth in service sector activity.
The industry is cautious about the outlook for sales in the region in 2023 after the bumper year in 2022, reflecting the withdrawal of sales incentives introduced during the pandemic. Interest rates were hiked aggressively across the region last year, while slowing global economic growth is also expected to have an impact on exports and commodity prices.
New vehicle sales increased by almost 12% to 289,824 units in the fourth quarter of 2022 from 259,665 units in the same period of last year, according to data released by local industry association Gaikindo.
The country’s vehicle market has now returned to pre-pandemic levels after rebounding strongly over the last two years, with full year sales rising by over 18% to 1,048,040 units from 887,202 units in 2021. Passenger vehicle sales rose by 18% to 777,866 units while commercial vehicle sales were up by almost 19% at 270,174 units. Just over 10,000 electric vehicles (EVs) were sold in the country last year, comprising mostly Hyundai and Wuling models.
The government has introduced policies to help drive up demand for EVs, including tax incentives and encouraging national and regional governments to switch to battery powered vehicles.
The country’s economy is estimated to have expanded by 5.5% in 2022, helped by a return of international tourism after two years of restrictions, buoyant commodity prices, rising private investment and strong consumer spending. Bank of Indonesia hiked its benchmark interest rate to 5.5% last year from 3.5% at the end of 2021 to help control surging price inflation.
Toyota’s local sales increased by over 12% to 331,410 units last year, helped by recent new model launches including the all-new popular Avanza compact MPV at the end of 2021. Daihatsu’s sales rose by almost 23% to 202,665 units, lifted by the all-new Xenia and Terios models and the Sigra small car; while Honda’s sales increased by 48% to 134,761 units, helped by the recent launch of the new HR-V and BR-V models. Mitsubishi’s sales declined by 9% to 99,051 units after the company outperformed strongly in 2021, while Suzuki’s sales were slightly lower at 90,408 units.
According to the association, vehicle production in the country increased by 31% to 1,470,146 units last year, while exports of built-up vehicles surged by 61% to 473,602 units.
New vehicle sales fell by over 6% to 215,701 units in the fourth quarter of 2022 from 230,044 units a year earlier, according to wholesale data released by the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI). The decline followed very strong growth in the previous quarter and was blamed mainly on localised flooding in the final two months of the year due to heavier than usual monsoon rains which affected some key vehicle manufacturers, as well as continued shortages of semiconductors.
The economy was estimated to have expanded by 3.4% in 2022, driven by strong domestic consumption and helped by a return of international tourism earlier in the year. Bank of Thailand raised its benchmark interest rate by 75 basis points to 1.25% last year.
Over the full year domestic vehicle sales increased by almost 12% to 849,388 units from 759,119 units in 2021, driven mainly by strong demand for pickup trucks. Vehicle production in the country increased almost 12% to 1,883,515 units last year, while exports rose by just over 4% to 1,000,256 units.
New vehicle sales rose by just over 7% to 203,860 units in the fourth quarter of 2022 from 190,084 units a year earlier, according to registration data released by the Malaysia Automotive Association (MAA). This follows much stronger growth in previous quarters, as the market rebounded strongly from depressed year earlier levels when the country was under lockdown due to the Covid pandemic.
The slower fourth quarter growth also reflected the diminishing effects of the year long sales tax exemption which was withdrawn at the end of June, although buyers with confirmed purchases before this deadline would be able to register their vehicles sales tax free until the end of March of this year.
The vehicle market last year rebounded beyond pre pandemic levels and on to new highs, after two years of sharp decline. Full year sales surged 42% to 720,658 units from 508,883 units in 2021, driven by a strong rebound in economic activity and government stimulus policies. Passenger vehicle sales rose 42% to 641,773 units while commercial vehicle sales were up 40% at 78,885 units. Total vehicle production in the country increased 38% to 702,275 units.
Sales of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) surged tenfold to 2,631 units from just 274 in 2021 with demand set to continue to rise with import and excise duty exemptions on these vehicles set to continue until the end of 2024.
Market leader Perodua’s sales rose by 48% to 282,019 units last year, driven by popular models such as the Bezza, Myvi and Axia. The launch of the new 1.5-litre Alza model in July helped to drive up sales in the second half of the year.
Proton’s global sales increased 23% to 141,432 units last year, including 5,406 exports, with production picking up in the second half of the year following earlier disruption to its operations. The Saga was the company’s best selling model last year with 55,878 registrations, followed by Geely-based models such as the X50 with 40,681 and the X70 with 18,533 units.
UMW Toyota reported a 40% sales rise to 101,035 units last year, helped by strong demand for models such as the locally assembled Corolla Cross Hybrid and the Hilux pickup truck. The company plans to launch a second hybrid electric vehicle model this year and possibly also a new BEV model.
The MAA expects the overall vehicle market to decline by 10% to 650,000 units in 2023 after a bumper year in 2022, reflecting the withdrawal of sales incentives and weaker overall demand. The economy also faces increasing headwinds, including rising interest rates and inflation, and pressure on exports as global economic growth slows.