Malaysia’s new vehicles sales rose 2.3 per cent to 296,334 units in the first six months but the Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) maintains its full-year forecast at 600,000 units, a marginal 0.21 per cent growth.
MAA president Datuk Aishah Ahmad expects new model launches with better features and designs at competitive prices to sustain buyers’ interest.
“Aggressive promotional campaigns by car companies will continue for the rest of 2019,” Aishah said at a press conference on industry sales and production for the first half here today.
MAA expects 534,000 passenger vehicles to be sold this year, while the remaining 66,000 would be commercial vehicles.
Aishah, however, cautioned that stringent hire purchase lending rules would continue amid economic uncertainties that should persist throughout the year.
“Consumers and businesses are generally very cautious in spending too,” she said, adding that Bank Negara Malaysia keeping its overnight policy rate at 3.0 per cent would support the economy to pick up steadily.
Kenanga Research believes that consumers were turning to value-for-money (volume-driven sales) national marques, while non-national marques were focusing on higher-margin lower-volume models (catering to higher-purchasing power consumers).
The firm said the national marques had so far surpassed non-national marques’ market share.
“Proton is expected to surpass Honda as No. 2, trailing behind Perodua in total industry market share. This will be powered by the all-new Proton X70, supported by upcoming all-new and face-lifted models, (increasing number of new model launches, and introduction of third national car under National Automotive Policy (NAP) 2019,” it said in a recent report.
Kenanga Research kept its full-year forecast at 600,000 units, matching MAA’s.
Meanwhile, Aishah said there was a 3.8 per cent growth, or 9,952 units of passenger vehicles, in the first six months. The commercial vehicle segment declined 11.2 per cent or 3,217 units.
New vehicles sales for June decreased 34 per cent to 42,526 units from 64,465 units a year ago due to short working month and post Hari Raya festive holidays.
Aishah said sales volume of new vehicles for July were expected to be slightly higher than June 2019 but it would not be higher than July 2018 due to the absence of tax holidays.
Meanwhile, total vehicle production increased 1.5 per cent to 285,028 units from 280,947 units produced in the same six months last year.
Of the total, passenger vehicles rose 2.1 per cent to 266,765 units from 261,324 units produced a year ago.
However, production of commercial vehicles dropped 6.9 per cent to 18,263 units from 19,623 units a year ago.
Aishah said the increase in production volume was in tandem with the surge in demand for new vehicles during the period.
Sales of hybrid vehicles in the first half decreased 28.6 per cent to 6,147 units from 8,613 units sold a year ago.
She said the lower sales were due to the longer approval for hybrids incentive by the government.
Aishah is hopeful that the government would continue to provide energy efficient vehicle (EEV) incentives under the revised NAP.
Approvals for incentives particularly for EEVs were more stringent now, she said. This caused prices of new EEVs to be more expensive.