Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - SE Asia car industries take on Japan

SE Asia car industries take on Japan

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Workers operate the car assembly line at the new automobile plant of Vingroup subsidiary VinFast, Vietnam’s first homegrown car manufacturer, on the day of its opening in Haiphong on June 14. AFP

SE Asia car industries take on Japan

In Vietnam, Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries, local companies have entered the automobile market in succession.

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 (EVs) as the key focus.

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

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said at the opening ceremony that the success of the project would have a special meaning for Vietnamese industry. He stressed that the government would always support companies that take on challenges.

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.

While the market size for cars remains at about 300,000 units per year in Vietnam, the new car plant is expected to have an annual production capacity of 250,000 units.

Vingroup plans to increase this number to 500,000 units in the future, in anticipation of the expansion of the market in keeping with economic development.

EV development is gaining momentum in Southeast Asian nations, as such vehicles require fewer parts and the barriers to market entry are lower compared to engine-powered vehicles.

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.

The state-run Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand also plans to remodel used cars into EVs for commercial sales, according to a local paper.

In the Philippines, local companies are turning public transportation methods such as tricycles and jeepneys into EVs.

In Malaysia, which already has two national car manufacturers, the government is promoting a new national car concept for the EV age.

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said in a speech on July 1 that the future of automobiles was moving toward EVs.

New-car sales in Asean, excluding Cambodia and Laos, increased 6.6 per cent from the previous year to a record 3.56 million units last year. The figure has already reached nearly 70 per cent of the number in the Japanese market, which has sales of about 5.2 million units.

The Asean number is expected to exceed four million units by the end of next year.

Japanese carmakers currently have an overwhelming 80 per cent share of the Southeast Asian market. Southeast Asian domestic brand cars will likely intensify their competition with Japanese automakers over the growing market. THE YOMIURI


  • Koreans arrested carrying $2.2M at Siem Reap airport

    Two South Koreans were nabbed by immigration police at Siem Reap International Airport on Sunday when attempting to bring more than $2 million in cash into Cambodia from Hong Kong. The National Police website on Monday said two Korean men aged 44 and 33 were arrested shortly after

  • Shanxi wins bid to build sections of new Siem Reap airport

    Shanxi Mechanization Construction Group recently won the bid to build two sections of the new Siem Reap Angkor International Airport project in Cambodia for 290 million yuan ($42.16 million). The existing Angkor International Airport in Siem Reap, 5km from the famous ancient temple complex and world tourism

  • Cambodia rejects call by UN for open invite

    Cambodia has rejected a UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) recommendation submitted by five countries at the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) calling on the Kingdom to issue a standing invitation to UN special procedures to visit at any time. The rejection was part of the 25 recommendations

  • Cambodia’s medical system is due for a check-up

    In Cambodia, many high-ranking government officials and public figures seek medical treatment abroad – including Prime Minister Hun Sen. With this in mind, it is not surprising that many locals also seem to often distrust local healthcare facilities. Cambodia has one of the fastest growing economies