By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
The Philippines’ motor vehicle production suffered a steep 39.9 percent decline in the first five months of the year, the only ASEAN country with negative growth, thus dragging the entire region’s performance to 7.6 percent increase only in the first five months of the year.
Data from the ASEAN Automotive Federation showed that combined production from the major six producing countries reached 1,795,350 units from 1,568,311 units in the same January-May period in 2017.
Among these countries, only the Philippines posted a negative growth as the country’s car production in the January-May period this year declined by 39.9 percent to 36,708 units as against 61,091 units in the same first five months last year. Notably, the Philippines’ motor vehicle production in the first 5 months of 2017 was averaging 12,000 units a month.
The highest growth in production was posted by Myanmar with 211.3 percent although at smaller base of 3,652 units from 1,173 units.
Thailand, the region’s car production hub, grew by 11.9 percent to 867,599 units from 775,523 units in the January-May period last year.
Indonesia, the region’s biggest car market, produced a total of 562,100 units or 7.2 percent higher than the 524,218 units in the same period last year. Malaysia grew by 8.3 percent to 241,582 units from 223,139 units.
Vietnam was flat at 0.7 percent to 83,709 units from 83,167 units in the same period last year.
So far, monthly in production volume in the region has been on a seesaw. The region started the year with a robust 18.2 percent growth in January, but tapered down to a measly 1.9 percent growth in February. Production improved in March with 3.4 percent before climbing to 10.3 percent in April and 5.7 percent in May.
In terms of sales, the same data showed that the region registered a positive 4.3 percent growth to 1,413,978 units from 1,355,521 units in the same period last year with four countries posting negative growth and four others, positive.
Thailand led the race with a remarkable 18 percent growth to 401,264 units from 340,182 units. Indonesia grew by 6 percent with a booming local market of 494,920 units from 467,117 in the same period last year.
Malaysia, the region’s third biggest market, suffered a sales decline of 3.8 percent to 225,212 units from 234,180 units.
The Philippines, which automotive industry has been affected by the implementation of higher excise tax, continued to slump with year to date sales reaching only 142,240 units or 10.3 percent lower than the 158,533 units in the same period last year.
Vietnam managed a 1 percent uptick to 103,746 units from 102,740 units in the first five months last year.
Myanmar, though with lower base, continued to grow robustly more than doubling its sales to 5,253 units from 2,561 units.
City state Singapore hit the brakes with 19.4 percent decline in sales to 36,631 units from 45,464 units. Likewise, oil-rich Brunei posted negative with sales of only 4,712 units from 4,744 units.