Report: Southeast Asia’s car sales plummeted 29% in 2020

This wasn’t the case for India, though
by Drei Laurel | Feb 9, 2021
PHOTO: Chevrolet Sales Thailand

Car sales took a big hit in Southeast Asia last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And yes, water is wet.

According to a report by Nikkei Asia, sales in the region dropped by 29% as COVID-19 wreaked havoc across Southeast Asian economies, with total unit sales in Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Singapore amounting to just 2.44 million.

The pandemic brought the region’s largest car market, Thailand, down to earth, with the country managing just 790,000 units sold. This is the first time in the past three years Thailand’s auto industry failed to breach the one million-unit mark.

ASEAN Car sales per country 

Indonesia witnessed the steepest sales drop last year, managing to move just 530,000 units. That’s a 48% dip, and the country struggled to recover as late as December last year when it posted 35% fewer units sold compared to 2019.

Other countries that posted sales declines include Malaysia  (-12%), Vietnam (-8%), and the Philippines (-41%). You can read a more detailed report of the situation our country’s auto industry is facing here.

Continue reading below ↓

So, yeah, you could say the region had it pretty rough in 2020. This wasn’t the case over in India, however, where auto sales actually managed to surpass pre-COVID levels thanks to the region’s lavish spending during its year-end festival seasons.

Continue reading below ↓
Recommended Videos

Performance per car manufacturer

Mahindra, Suzuki, and Tata—the country’s three largest car manufacturers—combined to post a 59% profit increase during the tail-end of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. Mahindra reported a threefold jump in profit, Suzuki reported a 26% increase, and Tata posted 67% profit growth.

“We could leverage the improved demand by a consistent ramp-up of production, addressing supply chain bottlenecks,” Tata Motors managing director and CEO Guenter Butschek told Nikkei Asia. “Due to a strong festival season and a clear preference for personal mobility, the passenger vehicle business posted highest sales in the last 33 quarters,” he added.

Mahindra CEO Pawan Goenka, while acknowledging the strong festival season, predicted that the country’s auto industry would face some serious challenges in 2021.

Continue reading below ↓

“The two big concerns for M&M [Mahindra and Mahindra] and for the world is the shortage of semiconductors, something we are perplexed by, and a persistent rise in commodity prices,” he stressed.

Is the worst the pandemic has to throw at carmakers already behind us? Perhaps. Then again, who knows what else 2021 has in store for all of us?

See Also

View other articles about:
PHOTO: Chevrolet Sales Thailand
  • Quiz Results

  • TGP Rating:

    Starts at ₱

    TGP Rating:
    Starts at ₱