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MAA trims forecast for new car sales this year [19-07-2011]  
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The Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) has revised its new car sales forecast downwards by 1.6 per cent or 10,000 units to 608,000 units.

New car sales dropped markedly in June to 41,790 from 54,005 units a year ago, bogged down by the amended Hire Purchase Act 1967 and supply issue.

Total industry volume dropped to 297,203 units in the first six months from 301,115 units in the first half of 2010.

The MAA had early this year predicted industry sales volume of 618,000 units for the whole year.

MAA president Datuk Aishah Ahmad said it is hopeful that there will be minor changes to the amended Act.

It will meet the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (Miti) on Friday to discuss on the impact of the amended Act to car sales.

"We just found out this morning that the ministry is going to have a meeting (with us) on July 22 at 3pm.

"From the indication, there is a lot of issues hindering registrations. The ministry has discussed with the banks and they are acceptable to amend some of the clauses in the Hire Purchase Act to make it easier for registration and all that," she said.

Aishah was speaking at a press conference about the industry's sales and production performance for the first half here yesterday.

Although in theory the amended Act will prolong the process of a vehicle purchase and should not hurt industry sales, Aishah said that the industry has seen a sales decline of some 20 per cent since the amended Act was implemented.

"I think car buyers were just turned off by the process, and hence, they did not buy the vehicles," said Aishah.

The decline was also due to the parts supply impact as a result of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, she added.

Aishah said the good news is that the supply issue of Japanese-made car has either been solved or almost solved, and one can expect production to hit pre-disaster levels from August onwards.

Total production eased to 42,723 units in June from 52,125 units a year ago. For the first six months, the number stood at 273,399 units from 293,783 units in the corresponding period in 2010.

Meanwhile, the MAA is also hoping that the government will extend the duration of hybrid vehicle incentives.

"We have really lobbied to Miti for a longer duration for the hybrid vehicle incentives. It cannot be just for one year.

"I think the message has been accepted by the authorities. We are hoping that they will still continue with the incentives after 2011," Aishah said.

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