New vehicle sales in ASEAN’s ‘Big Four’ automobile markets – Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines – are accelerating to new highs after the massive contraction two years ago.
A study by Visteon Automotive Systems (a unit of Ford which produces automotive systems and components), in the first quarter of this year, the total volume in the four countries was 202,220 units, a 62% increase over the same period in 1999.
Indonesia registered the most significant increase – 476% – with a total of 50,794 vehicles sold between January and March 2000; the same three months in 1999 saw only 8,810 units sold.
Sales in Thailand rose by 51%, to 54,786 units while for Malaysia’s auto industry which was already recovering quickly last year, the increase was 21% to 75,660 units.
Bestsellers in each of the countries during March: Indonesia – Toyota Kijang (4,743 units); Malaysia – Proton Iswara (4,650 units); Philippines – Toyota Tamaraw (1,094 units); and Thailand – Isuzu Dragon Eyes pickup (4,925 units).
By make, Toyota displaced Proton as the regional leader with a 22% total market share for the first quarter of 2000. Proton, with sales only in its domestic market (although small numbers go to Brunei and Singapore), had 22% while Mitsubishi and Isuzu each had 11%. Perodua, selling only in Malaysia like Proton, held a 10% share. Honda’s share in the ASEAN Big Four amounted to 6% while Nissan’s was 5%.
“We’re seeing the region’s consumers gain confidence in economic recovery. I expect the recovery to continue its progress and, in turn, automotive sales continue to grow,” said Terry Yanagisawa, Visteon’s ASEAN manager. “There are several factors which still concern us but I am optimistic.”