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Southeast Asian auto market roaring back to life

Sales hit three-year high as Filipinos, Thais lead the charge

SUVs from Toyota Motor are reportedly popular among corporate bigwigs in the Philippines. (Photo by Nozomu Ogawa)

BANGKOK/HANOI -- Southeast Asia's automobile market continues to recover well from a yearslong slump, with the Philippines and Thailand driving solid growth in an increasingly important region for carmakers.

This is particularly good news for Japanese automakers. With their aggregate market share reaching nearly 80% and their combined annual sales exceeding 2.5 million units here, the region is more important for Japanese automakers than Europe or India.

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