JAKARTA— Vehicle sales in the six major markets of Southeast Asian countries are facing challenges. The six countries that have been the major automobile markets of ASEAN are Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, and the Philippines. The challenge comes in term of effort to restore the market that receded in 2014. ASEAN car market in 2014 fell by 9.7% to 3,203,256 units from 3,547,521 units in 2013.
Reflux of ASEAN automobile market in 2014 was partly due to slowing economic growth. This caused business and consumers’ confidence slowly to come to recede. This phenomenon is particularly the case in the two countries— Thailand and Indonesia— which have always led the ASEAN market. Although receding in 2014, Thailand and Indonesia still top ASEAN market.
Smaller Southeast Asian vehicle markets— Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam— booked new record sales in 2014. This is due to strong economic growth. Vehicle sales in Malaysia in 2014 increased by 1.6% to 666,464 units. Singapore’s vehicle sales also grew in 2014 despite gross domestic product (GDP) slowed.
Economic growth in the Philippines in 2013 reached 8%. In 2014, their vehicle market increased by 27% to 270,372 units. Entering 2015, growth is predicted to occur in the automotive market, thanks to low interest rates and high consumer confidence.
Vehicle sales in Vietnam increased by 38% to 133,588 units in 2014 to improve Vietnam’s economy after inflation in 2011 and 2012. Despite being minor market in ASEAN, Vietnamese vehicle market is predicted to be able to thrive.