The dual airbags ruling for cars from next year does not apply to cars already sold in the country, a Transport Ministry spokesman said.
He said the new cars, either locally assembled or imported, would need to be equipped with frontal airbags for the safety of the driver and front passenger,
“The new ruling applies to new cars being sold in the country next year and does not affect vehicles already sold,” the spokesman told StarBiz.
He was clarifying some uncertainties regarding the new ruling as some industry players questioned if the new cars should be fitted with one or two airbags and if it applied to local or imported cars.
Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha had reportedly said that Perusahaan Otomobil Nasional (Proton) and Perusahaan Otomobil Kedua (Perodua) would comply with the new ruling. The Government gave a six-month grace period from Jan 1 for vehicle manufacturers and assemblers to fit the airbags.
Proton managing director Datuk Seri Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Mohamed Tahir lauded the Government's move to promote safety. He said the six-months grace period offered by the Government was more than sufficient for Proton to comply with the new ruling.
“In fact, all new Proton models launched after Jan 1, 2012 will be installed with dual front airbags,” he said. He added that Proton had already taken the initiative to equip its vehicle models with single and dual airbags.
Automotive safety equipment firm Hirotako Holdings Bhd executive director Peter Lim said the company which was the sole manufacturer of air bags in the country, was expecting RM30mil in additional sales for its next financial year ending Dec 31, 2012.
This is based on the 90,000 Proton Saga cars and 36,000 Perodua Alza to be produced next year.
Most of Hirotako's earnings come from its safety equipment segment which includes airbags, safety belts and steering wheels, with the remaining coming from acoustic products.
Last year, the company made some RM36.4mil in net profit on revenue of RM287mil compared with a net profit of RM18.8mil on revenue of RM209.5mil a year earlier. This year, it is expecting growth in earnings to come largely from its agreement with Perodua for which it is supplying airbags for the new Myvi model.
Despite the recent earthquake in Japan which affected vehicle production, total vehicle sales in Malaysia are still slated to hit an all-time high this year.
The Malaysian Automotive Association has projected total industry volume (TIV) for 2011 to hit 608,000 units from 618,000 units initially.