More Bruneians opt for smaller cars, SUVs

Azlan Othman

More Bruneians choose smaller cars or sports utility vehicles (SUV) at present which is also a global trend as these car models offer more versatility.

Many car manufacturers produce SUVs in various sizes, Brunei Auto Traders Association President Teng Chee Kiong told the Bulletin.

“Saloon cars of 1.6 cubic capacity are less popular nowadays. As for this year, sales of around 13,000 units like last year can still be achieved.

“People are still buying cars for convenience, especially recent university graduates,” Teng said.

He also lauded the government in its efforts to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak promptly.

“December is often a busy month for auto dealers,” he said.

“Bruneians usually travel abroad, but due to COVID-19, they had to stay in the country which boosted the local economy, including the car industry.”

Teng said Brunei is not a car producing country adding that some countries where production control is still ongoing, some factories are still closed, affecting auto dealers’ orders.

The decline in auto industry sales in ASEAN quickened as of October 2020 to 33.9 per cent as sales slowed down the months before the conclusion of 2020.

ASEAN Automotive Federation (AAF) data showed from January to October 2020, there were 248,424 units sold bringing total regional sales to 1,885,443 units in the first 10 months of the year compared to 2,852,518 units in the same period in the previous year.

Among the ASEAN member countries, Indonesia reported the biggest decline at 50.5 per cent as it sold 421,089 units compared to 851,222 units in the previous year.

Thailand performed better with 608,880 units sold, 27.4 per cent lower than 838,968 units sold in the first 10 months of the previous year.

Malaysia posted a 19.9-per-cent decrease to 398,159 units from 496,855 units in the previous year.

Vietnam also tempered its decline with 212,409 units sold, just 18.1 per cent down from 259,315 units sold in the January-October period in 2019.

The Philippines registered a hefty decline of 42.7 per cent as sales plummetted to 173,035 units from 301,761 units in 2019.

Singapore contributed 45,506 units, Brunei 11,220 units and Myanmar 15,145 units.

In terms of motor vehicle production, the region continued output cutbacks. As of October 2020, ASEAN member countries produced only 2,223,874 units, reflecting a 36.8-per-cent decline from 3,617,688 units in the same period in 2019.

Thailand, ASEAN’s car production hub, was able to produce only 1,112,426 units or 35.5 per cent lower than 1,725,414 units in the same period in the previous year. Indonesia, ASEAN’s largest market, registered a 48.9-per-cent decrease with an output of 549,577 units against 1,075,588 units in 2019.

Malaysia manufactured 374,494 units as against 481,428 units in 2019 or a negative 22.2-per-cent growth. Vietnam was able to produce 120,556 units, just 16.4 per cent shy of its 144,182-unit production level in the same first 10 months of 2019.