Brunei records highest car sale growth in ASEAN

Azlan Othman

Brunei Darussalam recorded the highest growth for car sales in the ASEAN region, amounting to eight per cent in the first five months (January-May) of this year, where nationwide lockdowns or partial lockdowns in other ASEAN nations due to the COVID-19 pandemic slowed vehicle sales in the region.

A total of 5,388 units of cars were sold in the Sultanate within that period, compared to 4,966 units within the same period last year, according to the latest figures from the ASEAN Automative Federation.

February recorded the highest sales with 1,108 units, followed by March (1,104 units) and May (1,102 units).

With the exception of Myanmar, which also recorded a positive growth of 4.7 per cent, the rest of the ASEAN member nations recorded a drastic drop in car sales ranging from as low as between -34 per cent to -53 per cent.

Overall, car sales have contracted to -43 per cent within such period in Asean, down from 1,436,830 units last year to only 833,421 units to date this year.

ASEAN member nations’ vehicle output amounted to 82,023 units in May this year, up by 61.6 per cent month-on-month and down 77.4 per cent year-on-year. In the January-May period of the year, the vehicle production in the ASEAN region dropped by 39.2 per cent year-on-year to 1.08 million, due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

In the first five months of the year, Thailand’s vehicle output plummetted by 40.2 per cent year-on-year to 534,428, while Indonesia produced 352,569 vehicles, down by 32.6 per cent from 523,183 units recorded in the corresponding period of the previous year.

In the given period, the biggest year-on-year decline of 51.1 per cent was recorded in Malaysia, with its vehicle output amounting to 121,005 units.

Besides that, the vehicle output in Vietnam dropped by 42.1 per cent year-on-year to 46,245 units in the January-May period. In the same period, the Philippines produced 23,781 vehicles with a 26.8 per cent decline, while Myanmar’s vehicle output amounted to 4,764 units, down by 22.3 per cent, both on a year-on-year basis.

Other than affecting automotive industry, the coronavirus has also severely affected livelihoods, major industries and the economy in general. Some of the worst hit sectors include tourism, aviation and leisure facilities.

The consequences to the auto industry have been damaging. The sector is facing a sharp drop in demand and investment, as it struggles with an abrupt and vast halt to economic activity where employees are advised to stay home, supply chains have ground to a halt and factories remain closed.