Malaysia Is Now The Second-Largest Automaker In Southeast Asia

Auto sales in Malaysia rose by 5% in the first quarter compared to the same period in 2023.

Cover image via Ahmad Irham Mohd Noor (NSTP) & New Straits Times

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Malaysia is now the second-largest automaker in Southeast Asia, behind Indonesia and ahead of Thailand

According to sales data compiled by Nikkei Asia, Malaysia has been surpassing Thailand for three consecutive months between January to March 2024.

Previously, Malaysia was third, behind Southeast Asia's leading automaker, Thailand.

Southeast Asia is now in focus as it has become the world's go-to destination when it comes to manufacturing vehicles.

Auto sales in Malaysia rose by 5% in the first quarter compared to the same period in 2023

The Malaysian Automotive Association reported that the country sold 202,245 vehicles in the first quarter of 2024.

This comes after an 11% increase in 2023 when sales hit a record high of 799,731 vehicles.

In short, more people are purchasing vehicles made in Malaysia. 

The government's economic stimulus plan, which allows sales tax exemptions for cars made here, helped increase auto sales

These exemptions were introduced in 2020 and ended in the middle of 2022.

The introduction of affordable electric vehicles also contributed to the increase in sales.

With Malaysian auto brands Perodua and Proton holding around 60% of the domestic market share, they're reported to have benefited the most. 

Sales in Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam have been decreasing except in the Philippines, which has been outperforming the region

Thailand saw its sales drop by 25% in the first quarter compared to the previous year because of more unpaid car loans and overall low spending. That said, the share of electric vehicles is increasing due to Chinese manufacturers entering the market.

Meanwhile, sales in Indonesia dropped 24% from the previous year because of higher interest rates, which made people hesitant to buy cars.

On the other hand, Vietnam experienced a drop of 16% in the first quarter due to weak exports and other issues, causing auto sales to be significantly lower than last year.

However, auto sales in the Philippines rose by 13%, the highest compared to the five countries in the region. This increase was due to inflation easing to about 4% in late 2023 and strong consumer spending.

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