In the wake of the continuing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, global light vehicle sales in 2020 are now forecast to drop to 69.6 million units, 22 percent lower than in 2019, with risks to the forecast still skewed to the downside, according to IHS Markit.
In Southeast Asia, sales of new vehicles in the region’s six largest markets combined are estimated to have declined by over 19 percent to 700,528 units in the first quarter of 2020, according to GlobalData. Thailand saw first quarter sales down 24 percent as its economy reeled under the impact of much-reduced travel and tourism. Malaysia Q1 vehicle sales were down by 26 percent and Vietnam saw a slump of almost 32 percent.
Although 2020 is seeing a setback for the automotive sector in ASEAN markets, long-term prospects for the region remain very strong. GlobalData’s analysis points to strong indicators for long-term demand as motorisation rates rise with high economic growth—especially in Indonesia with its increasingly transportation hungry population of 273 million. Its market of around one million new vehicles a year is forecast to double to two million vehicles a year by the end of this decade.
In addition to strong long-term market prospects, the automotive manufacturing industry in the region benefits from relatively low costs, favourable government policies for investment, as well as free trading regimes for vehicles and components, according to GlobalData.
Here’s a roundup of the latest activities being done by automakers, parts manufacturers, and government units in ASEAN to drive the industry’s market recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic.
- According to the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) automotive club, Thailand’s automotive production is likely to plunge 37 percent to 1.33 million units this year and could drop even further to 50 percent (to one million units) if the pandemic lasts till June.
- Proposed measures to boost demand includes: a car trade-in scheme, 50 percent excise tax reduction until the end of the year and a delay in enforcement of Euro 5 emission standards
- According to MarkLines Data Center, April vehicle sales in Thailand declined by 65 percent YoY to 30,109 units
- Japan’s Isuzu Motors Ltd forecasts that demand for pickup trucks and other light commercial vehicles in Thailand is likely to fall 35 percent this year
- Nissan Thailand has resumed production in its first Thai plant as well as plant 2 (on 1st June)
- Mercedez-Benz Thailand plans to postpone the launch of the EQC BEV in Thailand to 2021 amid the coronavirus crisis, according to MarketLines, quoting a report from (Thansettakij)
- Summit Auto Body Industry Co. Ltd (SAB) will continue with its project despite the pandemic, investing THB810 million—mostly for its plant expansion and purchase of new machines. SAB initially targeted THB8.8 billion for its 2020 revenue; but because of COVID-19, it revised down its forecast by 50 percent. (Prachachat Turakij)
- TAPMA (Thai Auto Parts Manufacturers Association) expects exports of Thailand’s auto parts to drop in the second quarter of 2020 (2Q 2020) following the temporary suspension of car manufacturing plants both in Thailand and overseas amid the COVID-19 pandemic. However, recovery is expected in Q3 as plants are reopening (Marklines).
- Gaikindo, Indonesia’s automotive manufacturers association, have reported that Indonesia’s total vehicle sales in April 2020 were 7,871 units, down by 90.7 percent YoY due to the coronavirus, according to MarkLines. January-April sales were down by 28 percent to 244,762 units.
- In terms of automaker sales in April, Toyota was down by 90.3percent YoY to 2,056 units (26.1 percent market share); Daihatsu was down 91.8 percent to 1,330 units (16.9 percent market share); Honda was down 89.8 percent to 1,183 units (15 percent market share); Suzuki was down 86.4 percent to 1,042 units (13.2 percent market share); and Mitsubishi was down by 89.7 percent to 808 units (10.3 percent market share).
- The Indonesia Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs has announced incentives in the form of stimulus, amounting to IDR 70 trillion, for the automotive industry players to minimise the impact of COVID-19.
- Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indonesia (TMMIN) is set to resume operations this month after it suspended manufacturing operations from May 1 to June 1, 2020.
- PT Toyota Astra Motor also announced to restart production around the same time, according to VietnamPlus.
- PT Astra International: Its automotive sales drop by 91.2 percent year-on-year (yoy) in April to 3,807 units, according to data from the Association of Indonesian Automotive Manufacturers (Gaikindo).
- Suzuki Indonesia: Gradually resumed operating the plant starting on May 26, 2020. Before this, Suzuki Indonesia had temporarily suspended factory operations from April 13 to May 22, 2020.
- According to a report from the Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (VAMA), the automotive market suffered a decline of 36 percent over the first four months and only 11,761 units were registered in April 2020
- Sales of passenger cars decreased by 40 percent, commercial vehicles by 26 percent and specialised vehicles by 16 percent, compared to the previous month.
- On May 20, the government approved a plan to reduce auto registration fees by 50 percent until the end of the year which could help domestic enterprises recover and stimulate car consumption for domestically-made cars over imports
- Malaysian Automotive Association: Malaysia recorded just 141 sales of new automobiles in April, down 99.7 percent compared to the same period in 2019 (49,939 units)
- Estimates point to a plunge to 400,000 this year. Sales for the first four months of the year declined 45 percent to 106,600 autos.
- The Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines (CAMPI) expects vehicle sales to decline by at least 20 percent in 2020 amid the COVID-19 lockdown. Earlier, the Association of Vehicle Importers and Distributors Inc. (AVID) expects total vehicle sales to decline by 40 percent. Total automotive sales covering vehicles sold by both CAMPI and AVID reached more than 410,000 units last year.
- Toyota Motor Corp. restarted production in the Philippines, Pakistan, and Russia, on May 22. Toyota’s vehicle plant in the Philippines, which produces models such as Vios, resumed operations on a single shift on May 18. The six overseas plants where Toyota has not resumed plant operations yet include Indonesia, Brazil, India, Venezuela, Portugal, and Czech Republic.
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