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Economy

Southeast Asian auto sales grow 8% in August

Sales of Toyota's Calya multipurpose vehicle, released last month in Indonesia, exceeded initial projections.

BANGKOK -- Sales of new cars in six major Southeast Asian countries climbed 8% on the year to 276,000 vehicles in August, a fifth consecutive month of growth.

In a clear sign of recovery in the region, year-on-year sales increased in all six nations except for Malaysia.

In Indonesia, the region's largest market, sales rose for a fifth month in a row, gaining 6% to 96,000 units. Sales of Toyota Motor's Calya multipurpose vehicle, released in August, exceeded projections.

Thailand, the second-largest market, saw a 3% increase to 63,000 vehicles after a drop in July, with passenger vehicles gaining 9%. The uptick owes to "automakers' new-model releases and the government's economic stimulus measures," said Toyota, the market leader.

The Philippines, Vietnam and Singapore all saw double-digit growth.

Malaysia, the region's third-largest market, dropped 2% to 52,000 units for an eighth straight month of declines. Local automakers such as Perodua and Proton Holdings released new sedans. But consumer sentiment remained feeble amid the economic slowdown and weakening currency.

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