Illustrative photo (Source: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – ASEAN auto demand is forecast to continue rising in the rest of this year, despite the saturation of the market, according to a survey by the Financial Times’ Confidential Research (FTCR) for the region in the first quarter of this year.

In quarter one, the Auto Purchase Index (API), which measures the six-month outlook for auto sales, is positive for Indonesia and Thailand, but negative for Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam.

Indonesia enjoyed a 6 percent rise year on year in auto sales, while Thailand saw a 15.9 percent increase year on year.

Meanwhile, Vietnam’s API fell slightly, mostly because consumers delayed purchases until 2018 when the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement will eliminate tariffs on imported autos. Sales growth slowed to single digits after soaring by 29.4 percent in 2016 and 56.7 percent in 2015. However, experts said that the index will recover in the second half of 2017 and thrive in 2018.

At the same time, Malaysia saw a decrease in API, but enjoyed a 7.3 percent rise in auto sales from the same period last year.

In the Philippines, sales rose 23 percent in the first quarter after a 24.6 percent increase in 2016. However, auto demand in the country may start declining this year, said the survey.

In the first quarter, the Motorcycle Purchase Index fell in almost all of the above-mentioned Southeast Asian markets except for Malaysia. Experts predicted that sales for the whole region will decline for the year due to the sluggish market in Indonesia, which accounts for half of all sales in the five ASEAN countries in 2016.

FTCR also said that the middle class in the region will help boost auto sales, while the motorcycle market is increasingly saturated.-VNA