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Chinese manufacturers poised to also succeed in Southeast Asia thanks to electric

OFFER Atto3 in Southeast AsiaNightmare ahead for Japanese manufacturers? The electrical market is developing rapidly in Southeast Asia, where Chinese manufacturers have already monopolized the majority of sales.

Southeast Asian countries are considered the “garden” of Japanese manufacturers. Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Mitsubishi, Suzuki, Daihatsu dominate the region. The countries grouped within ASEAN represent a market of more than 3 million cars per year, with strong growth expected in the coming years.

So far, European or American manufacturers who have ventured there have often thrown in the towel. However, there are a few exceptions: the national manufacturers Perodua (but linked to Daihatsu) and Proton (now a member of the Geely galaxy…) in Malaysia, or the presence of Ford with the Ranger pick-up in Thailand.

But this situation of Japanese hegemony could very well change… Most of the countries in the region have actually launched plans to electrify their market and their automotive industry. In this context, Japanese manufacturers have remained their usual reticence towards the electric. A few projects and prototypes, but nothing concrete yet.

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On the other hand, Chinese manufacturers have quickly sought to capitalize on their strengths in this area, either importing or producing their electric vehicles locally. Thailand appears to be their main entry point, with factories already installed or underway for SAIC, BYD, Greatwall, Changan or even startup Neta. As for Geely, it is present in Malaysia via Proton, which it owns at 49.9%, but does not (yet) offer an electric model.

The electric car market is still small in the region, but it is developing very quickly. It thus increased from 0.3% in the first quarter of 2022 to 3.8% in the same period of 2023. This is still low, but this share may reach 6% by the end of the year, with Thailand again in the lead with almost 3/4 of the volumes.

Of this share, Chinese manufacturers account for the lion’s share. With BYD, SAIC and Neta in the lead, they have 75% of the market. Add to that Vinfast and the Japanese producers see the first serious threat arriving in their field…



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