In 2017 sales for passenger vehicles and commercial vehicles among Asean countries increased 5 percent to 3.3 million units, while two-wheel vehicle sales dropped 0.4 percent to 9.5 million, according to statistics released recently by the Asean Automotive Federation.
Sales of four-wheelers in Indonesia increased 2 percent to more than one million units while Myanmar, Thailand and the Philippines recorded double-digit growth of 97 percent, 13 percent and 18 percent, respectively.
The Philippines light vehicle sales increased last year because consumers rushed to buy in order to avoid price hikes, said Titikorn Lertsirirungsun, Asean manager at LMC Automotive, a global automotive market intelligence company based in the United Kingdom.
However, with the introduction of the new excise tax rates this year, prices of popular smaller cars and SUVs are expected to rise, while prices of premium cars and larger SUVs are likely to fall, affecting vehicle sales, he added.
LMC projects that light vehicle sales - passenger and commercial - in the Philippines will be 434,153 units in 2018 but increase to 460,813 units in 2019.
In Thailand, the rebound in 2017 was mainly driven by pent-up demand in the last quarter of 2016 due to the passing of the King in October of that year, he said. Thai passenger vehicle and commercial vehicle sales combined reached 871,650 in 2017. LMC expects that combined sales number to continue climbing to 874,025 units in 2018 and 906,519 in 2019, due in part to the expiration of a regulation that prevented first-time car buyers from selling or transferring ownership of those vehicles. The ban was in effect from September 2011 to September 2016.
Indonesian consumers held off on purchases due to stricter auto loan approvals and the launch of new and affordable SUVs from China this year.
Vehicle sales in Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam dropped by 15 percent, 1 percent and 7 percent, respectively. Asean is a 10-nation economic bloc of countries in Southeast Asia.
The regions sales of motorcycles and scooters fell by 0.4 percent to 9.5 million units due mainly to Indonesias decrease of 5 percent. Malaysia, Philippines and Singapore recorded double-digit growth of 10 percent, 16 percent and 16 percent, respectively. Thailands sales increased 4 percent.
Production of passenger vehicles and motor vehicles combined - not including motorcycles and scooters - remained almost unchanged at 1 percent or 4 million units, but the emerging market of Myanmar showed a jump of 328 percent, although its volumes remain small compared to its neighbors at 4,930 units.
The other three countries with production growth were the Philippines (21 percent), Thailand (2 percent) and Indonesia (3 percent).
Production of motorcycles and scooters increased 13 percent to 3.7 million units, led by Malaysia (11 percent), the Philippines (13 percent) and Thailand (13 percent). The federations total only includes the motorcycle and scooter production numbers for those three countries.