An interesting addition to data coming from the Malaysian Automotive Association is the contrasting sales performances between ourselves and our regional neighbours in Southeast Asia for the first half of 2022.
Depending on what metrics you scrutinise, the importance you place on them, and the picture they paint relative to other countries, Malaysia either comes out smelling like roses in terms of an automotive industry on the rebound after the hardships of the past 2 years….or, it doesn’t.
Here’s something shocking: the Philippines sold almost twice (2x) as many EVs as we did in the first half of 2022. It’s almost unbelievable!
Global vehicle sales are on the rise, of course, but some are faring better than others. In ASEAN, overall sales numbers over the past 5 months – January to May – go to Indonesia (396,153 units) followed by Thailand (374,803 units) with Malaysia in 3rd spot with 265,656.
That being said, based on the projected total industry volume published for each country, Malaysia ranks even lower on exactly how much we outperformed expectations over this time in 2021. We’re standing at a respectable 8% increase while Vietnam is at a much more vibrant 39%, Indonesia at 24%, Thailand at 22%, and the Philippines at 15%.
In 2022, the silver lining here is that we’re at least doing better, relatively, than Myanmar (-2%) and Singapore with the largest industry performance contraction of -36%.
In terms of vehicle production, we continue to be utterly dwarfed by Thailand’s output, which managed to roll out 745,288 units between the months of January and May 2022. This was expectedly followed by Indonesia with 544,027 units. Malaysia stands in its regular 3rd spot with a decent showing of 258,048 units produced.
However, with Indonesia’s aggressive (and mostly successful) push to woo big industry players into setting up shop within its borders with attractive tax reliefs and a wealth of natural resources, land area, and a cost-effective workforce, we expect it to catch up or even overtake Thailand before the decade is up to become the region’s automotive juggernaut.
While Malaysia is holding steady, the country had announced a big government-led push to encourage the adoption of electric vehicles by introducing near-tax-free pricing benefits and no road tax payable until after 2025.
Singapore’s EV sales data is conspicuously absent in MAA’s collection of numbers, though we’ll assume it to be an encouraging number given how much driving an EV makes more sense in the island nation metropolis over a car powered by internal combustion.
A most interesting figure was how many electric vehicles were reportedly sold in the Philippines. At 751 units, EVs represent 2.4% of the country’s total passenger cars sold between January and May 2022.
Sure, the country’s total passenger car sales count of 31,283 pales in comparison to our tally of 233,725 cars. However, at just 390 units, we only managed a little more than 50% of what they were capable of selling.
In the first 5 months of 2022, EV sales in Malaysia accounted for 0.167% of passenger car sales, meaning the Philippines is selling 7x more EVs relative to cars powered by ICE than we are in 2022. Yeah….
Do bear in mind, of course, that MAA’s data very likely does not factor in sales from EVs imported and sold via the grey market and only uses sales numbers released by the offices of automakers’ local branches or a representative local distributor.
Still, that’s some perspective.
The Philippines also has the presence of EV-centric automakers that are either not present at all in Malaysia such as BYD and Wuling Motors from China to serve mass market needs or premium ones like Audi which does sell their cars here but does not include their electric models such as the e-tron SUV.