Vietnamese automaker Vinfast  officially launched its auto factory in June this year after 21 months of construction. (Source: cungcau.vn)

Tokyo (VNA) - The development of electric vehicles (EV) is gaining momentum in Southeast Asian nations, as such vehicles require fewer parts and barriers to market entry are lower compared to engine-powered vehicles, according to The Yomiuri Shimbun.

In its article on the July 8 issue, the Japanese newspaper analysed the development trend of automotive industry in Southeast Asia, which is focusing on electric vehicles.

It said in Vietnam, Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries, local companies have entered the automobile market in succession, adding that they are attempting to take on the challenge of competing with Japanese carmakers, who dominate the regional market, by promoting their domestic brands.

The governments of these countries are also heightening efforts to support the development of their own auto industries, with electric vehicles as the key focus.

Vietnamese conglomerate Vingroup completed an automobile factory in June to produce Vietnam’s first auto brand, it said.

In September 2017, Vingroup — which is known for its wide-ranging businesses including real estate, retail, and information and communications technology — announced it intended to enter the automobile industry. In less than two years, Vingroup created new cars by adopting technologies of companies such as General Motors and BMW through business cooperation.

The company said it has already received more than 10,000 sales orders.

In Thailand, electricity generating company Energy Absolute PCL unveiled in March a minivan made in Thailand, from design and development through to parts procurement. The company, which has yet to start selling the minivan, said the car is part of a national EV concept.

In the Philippines, local companies are turning public transportation methods such as tricycles and jeepneys into EVs.
Meanwhile, in Malaysia, which already has two national car manufacturers, the government is promoting a new national car concept for the EV age.

According to the article, new-car sales in ASEAN, excluding Cambodia and Laos, increased 6.6 percent from the previous year to a record 3.56 million units in 2018. The figure has already reached to nearly 70 percent of the number in the Japanese market, which has sales of about 5.2 million units.

The ASEAN number is expected to exceed 4 million units by the end of 2020.

Japanese carmakers currently have an overwhelming 80 percent share of the Southeast Asian market. Southeast Asian domestic brand cars will likely intensify their competition with Japanese automakers over the growing market, the article reported.-VNA