Exclusive analysis for just-auto shows that new vehicle sales in the ASEAN region’s six largest markets jumped by over 28% to 941,279 units in the first quarter of 2013 as strong domestic economic growth continued to offset sluggish exports and weak commodity prices. 

Government and private sector investment is expanding, while consumer spending has been underpinned by low interest rates and hikes in minimum wages. The four largest vehicle markets - Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines - all enjoyed strong, double-digit growth in the quarter. 

Thai vehicle sales were particularly strong, with first-quarter volumes rising by over 48% to 412,680 units. The market continued to benefit from an overspill of orders from last year’s first-time buyer incentive programme, with buoyant domestic sentiment and strong economic growth also helping to drive growth.

The benefits of the Thai incentive programme are expected to run out in the second quarter and the high volumes seen in the second half of last year are unlikely to be sustained this year. 

Indonesia continues to enjoy strong investment and domestic consumption, with first-quarter GDP growth expected to have exceeded 6%. The country’s fast-expanding middle-class population is underpinning long-term growth in vehicle demand, with low interest rates and a broadening range of lower segment vehicles helping to improve affordability.

Full article: ANALYSIS: ASEAN sales surge 28% in Q1