Brunei bucks ASEAN car sales trend

Azlan Othman

Despite being far behind the rest in ASEAN member countries in terms of volume of car units sold, Brunei Darussalam, along with Myanmar, recorded a significant increase in sales from January-August with 8,670 units sold. It was an increase of 9.3 per cent compared to the same period last year.

Vehicle sales were affected by COVID-19 pandemic in the ASEAN region with a decrease of up to 51.1 per cent from the previous year.

The figure is based on Asean Automotive Federation (AAF) data. Sales in Thailand stood the strongest with 456,858 units (-33.4 per cent) with Indonesia ranking second with 323,507 (a 23 per cent contribution to total sales in ASEAN of 1,396,972 units).

Indonesia’s domestic car sales in January-August 2019 reached 661,919 units, slightly behind Thailand which recorded 685,652 units. Another ASEAN member country experiencing sales pressure is the Philippines. During the first eight months of 2020, vehicle sales recorded 123,489 units, down 47.6 per cent.

The same was reported in Singapore which sold 33,467 units, down 47.8 per cent.

Decreased vehicle sales were also reported in Malaysia and Vietnam. Sales in these two countries recorded 285,045 units and 151,903 units, down 28.4 per cent and 25 per cent.

A Brunei sales representative said the increase was due to the surge in Bruneians buying smaller cars. He added that a low salary scale, especially among those working in the private sector makes, limits purchases of bigger car with a higher instalment. “With a smaller salary scale, it is a burden to make ends meet as having a car is a necessity these days,” he said.