Vehicle sales in the six largest markets in the ASEAN region combined rose nearly 23% to 832,390 units in the first quarter of 2022 from 677,397 units a year earlier, according to data compiled by www. .AsiaMotorBusiness.com from various industry sources including automakers, trade associations and government departments.
Indonesia led the rebound with vehicle sales up more than 41% to 263,822 units as most markets in the region returned to pre-pandemic levels despite new restrictions imposed in the region during of the quarter in response to the latest surge in Covid infections.
Sales in Thailand grew more than 22% to 231,189 units in the first quarter, while in Malaysia the market grew more than 14% to 159,752 units, with stronger growth expected for the rest of the year. ‘year.
Interest rates have been kept at historic lows and governments continue to provide fiscal stimulus to spur economic growth. A surge in commodity prices has also helped some economies, while consumer and business confidence has been boosted by a gradual return of international tourism to the region.
The rise in energy and other commodity prices following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, however, is beginning to be felt, while its impact on exports has so far been limited.
Sales in Vietnam jumped 29% to 85,797 units in the first quarter of 2022 from already strong levels a year earlier, thanks to a 5% growth in economic activity in the country.
Sales in the Philippines, excluding data from members of the AVID importers association, rose just over 6% to 74,754 vehicles in the first quarter. Total sales rose 43% in March after a slow start to the year mainly due to restrictions imposed in January in response to the latest surge in the covid pandemic.
New vehicle sales in Indonesia continued to rebound in the first quarter of 2022, up more than 41% to 263,822 from weak sales the previous year of 187,021 units, according to data released by local industry association Gaikindo.
Sales of passenger vehicles jumped more than 46% to 197,762 units while sales of commercial vehicles increased by more than 28% to 66,060 units.
The country’s economy continued to rebound from low levels a year earlier, although a spike in Covid infections in the country in March is expected to have dampened growth for the quarter. GDP growth in the first quarter is estimated at over 4%, driven by strong domestic consumption and exports.
The automotive market has benefited from historically low interest rates, with Bank Indonesia maintaining its benchmark rate at 3.5%, as well as a number of large new model launches over the past year.
Toyota reported a 41% increase in sales to 81,095 vehicles in the first quarter, driven by the popular all-new compact minivan Avanza, the new Rush compact SUV and the small crossover Raize.
Daihatsu sales increased by more than 44% to 50,820 units, driven by the recent launch of the small Rocky crossover, the new Xenia compact MPV and the new Terios compact SUV.
Mitsubishi made the largest gains among the country’s major automakers, with sales up nearly 55% to 33,654 units, on strong demand for its Xpander and Xpander Cross models, while sales of Suzuki rose only 14% to 22,371 units.
New vehicle sales in Thailand rose more than 22% to 231,189 units in the first quarter from 189,093 in the same period last year, boosted by strong demand for pickup trucks. The data excludes some important brands, in particular commercial vehicles from Chinese and European manufacturers, as well as BMW and Mercedes-Benz passenger vehicles.
While economic activity has picked up in recent months, helped by government stimulus policies, a spike in Covid infections in March and the Russian invasion of Ukraine are expected to dampen economic activity in the country.
The Bank of Thailand kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged at a historic low of 0.5% to help support domestic consumption amid growing uncertainty. The Ministry of Finance cut its GDP growth forecast for the full year to 3.5% from 4.0% due to the war in Ukraine.
Vehicle exports fell nearly 6% to 243,124 units in the first quarter, which the Federation of Thai Industries attributed in part to continued shortages of semiconductors for some car models.
Given the strong market performance in the first quarter, the FTI suggested that full-year domestic sales could reach 900,000 units this year, up from its previous forecast of between 800,000 and 850,000. units, after sales fell 4% to 759,119 units in 2021.
New vehicle registrations in Malaysia rose 14.5% to 159,752 units in the first quarter of 2022 from 139,499 units a year earlier, according to registration data released by the Malaysia Automotive Association (MAA). Passenger vehicle sales rose 14% to 140,140 units, while commercial vehicle sales jumped 21% to 19,612 units.
The market continued to be disrupted by last December’s flooding in key parts of the country, with Proton being the hardest hit among the nation’s major automakers. Other manufacturers have since managed to ramp up production to meet strong order books.
The country’s top automaker, Perodua, saw sales rise more than 6% to 61,624 units in the first quarter and UMW Toyota sales jumped 32% to 22,447 units, while Proton sales rose. fell 19% to 26,706 units over the same period.
Economic growth is expected to approach 5% in the first quarter of 2022, driven by strong exports and domestic stimulus measures that are helping to boost domestic consumption. For the year as a whole, GDP growth is expected to exceed 6% from low levels in 2021.
The MAA predicts the domestic market will grow 18% to more than 600,000 units in 2022 after declines in the past two years.