ASEAN auto industry plummets as of May

Published July 12, 2020, 10:00 PM

by Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

The automotive industry in southeast Asia suffered a heavy blow in the first five months of the year with major cuts both in production and sales during the height of the imposition of COVID-19 lockdowns among countries in the region.

In terms of sales, the ASEAN Automotive Federation reported that sales registered a steep 42 percent decline as of May to 833,421 units only from 1,436,830 units sold in the same first five months of 2020.

Based on the AAF data, sales started to plummet in March at 38.7 percent reaching a high of 81.3 percent in April and 69.1 percent in May.

Among the top four major markets in ASEAN, the Philippines reported the steepest cut by 51.1 percent with sales of only 69,463 units from 142,185 units sold in the January-May period 2019.

Malaysia declined by 48.9 percent to 129,561 units from 253,731 units. Indonesia, ASEAN’s biggest market, reported 41.2 percent decline in sales to 248,310 units sold versus 422,497 units in the same period last year.

Thailand, the region’s automotive production hub, suffered a 38.2 percent decrease in sales to 270,591 units from 437,722 units last year.

Smaller markets like Vietnam also registered a 34.5 percent decline and Singapore with 53.4 per-cent negative sales, but Brunei and Myanmar posted modest increases.

In terms of motor vehicle production, six ASEAN countries reported a 39.2 percent cut in production to only 1,082,792 units as of May this year from 1,782,230 units in the first five months last year.

Thailand, the Detroit of southeast Asia, reduced its production by 40.2 percent to 534,428 units from 893,067 units in May 2019.

 Indonesia also cut its production by 32.6 percent to 352,569 units from 523,183 units while Malaysia posted the steepest reduction of 51.1 percent to 121,005 units from 247,563 units in the same period 2019.

Motor vehicle production in the Philippines suffered a 26.8 percent cut to 23,781 units from 32,484 units last year and Vietnam with 42.1 percent production cut to 46,245 units from 79,805 units last year.