RETAIL | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Asia's auto market accelerates as vehicle sales forecasted to grow 4.7% in 2018

Sales of commercial vehicles will continue to race ahead of the passenger cars.

Asia’s auto market continues its rapid acceleration as it is projected to be the third fastest growing region for vehicle sales by 2018, according to BMI Research.

Vehicle sales in the region are expected to grow 4.7% in 2018.

The commercial vehicle segment will continue to outpace the passenger vehicle segment over the next 12 months thanks to infrastructure growth in the region.

In terms of submarket growth, sales in South Asia will continue to race ahead of ASEAN markets in 2018 with a projected 9.4% growth versus 7.9%.

South Asia countries include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

BMI notes that Pakistan is expected to be a global leader in auto sales as a result of the government’s Automotive Development Policy 2016-2021 which offers tax incentives to new market entrants in the car making industry.

Japan is similarly ahead of the pack with a 6.7% forecast growth as consumers and businesses are expected to take advantage of lower vehicle prices ahead of the impending sales tax increase from 8% to 10% on October 2019.

Meanwhile, Thailand’s new car market is on its way to recovery with a forecasted 17.2% growth that totals 380,000 units. This comes as tame inflation, low interest rates and end of year-long mourning period for King Bhumibol Adulyadej is projected to lead to a 4% rise in private consumption in 2018.

On the other hand, Singapore’s auto market is on the downside with an expectation of 10.8% sales decline.

China’s new vehicle market is expected to slow down as prices on small engine vehicles will rise next year as the government announced that sales tax on small engine cars will revert to 10% in January 2018.

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