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Southeast Asia's new-car sales climb 4% in April

Thailand leads way with fourth month of double-digit growth

BANGKOK -- New-car sales in Southeast Asia rose 4% to 256,647 units in April for a sixth consecutive month of year-on-year increases, despite a slower pace of gains than in February and March.

Thailand saw the biggest jump, as the region's second-largest auto market logged a 15% overall increase aided by a 23% boost in passenger-car sales. The country continued its recovery, achieving a fourth straight month of double-digit growth. Automakers such as market leader Toyota Motor and fourth-ranked Mitsubishi Motors bolstered their market shares.

Sales rose 6% in Indonesia, Southeast Asia's largest market, but fell in Vietnam and Singapore.

Malaysian sales inched up just 1%. Car production declined in April, possibly suggesting that automakers are growing skeptical of sales prospects in the country. Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, the parent of major Chinese automaker Geely, plans to invest in ailing Malaysian car maker Proton Holdings.

Southeast Asian new-car sales soared 14% for both February and March. Japanese automakers account for 80% of the region's market share.

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