Commercial vehicle segment is expected to see a bigger rise in sales compared with passenger vehicle this year, as demand is expected to be buoyed by rising commercial activity and healthy construction sector growth.
Frost & Sullivan expects the commercial vehicle segment to grow 3.4% to 67,400 units in 2012 from a projected 65,200 in 2011, while the passenger vehicle segment is predicted to expand marginally by 0.9% to 544,600 units from a forecast 539,800 in 2011.
“The construction sector is projected to grow at a healthy 4% in 2012, driven by large infrastructure projects as well as housing construction activities,” said Frost & Sullivan partner and head for automotive and transportation practice, Asia-Pacific, Kavan Mukhtyar at a briefing.
He also said that gone were the days when commercial vehicles, such as pick-up trucks, were purchased purely for construction-related purposes.
“These days, pick-up trucks are looking more aesthetically attractive than before. Also, families that spend their weekends cycling or camping prefer to purchase this type of vehicles.”
Kavan said he expected a slowdown in passenger vehicle sales in 2012 due to uncertainties in external markets and concerns on domestic loan approval rates.
OSK Investment Research analyst Ahmad Maghfur Usman also concurred that the commercial vehicle segment would see better growth this year compared with the passenger vehicle segment.
“The commercial segment will do better due to the implementation of Economic Transformation Programme projects,” he said.
The research house said in a recent report that it was optimistic about the construction sector in 2012.
“From a full-year perspective, we expect 2012 to see an overall increase in domestic jobs, (of which the) magnitude is nonetheless difficult to ascertain at this juncture.
“To justify our view, if all the elevated packages of the Sg Buloh-Kajang MRT (mass rail transit) line were awarded in 2012, the value of this portion of the project alone would have already matched that of the total domestic contracts for last year.”
According to the Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA), total vehicle sales from January to November rose to 552,561 units from 550,391 in the previous corresponding period.
Passenger vehicles accounted for 492,884 units and the remaining 59,677 were commercial vehicles.
For the month of November 2011, sales of pick-up trucks were up 6% to 4,128 units from 3,872 previously, while truck sales increased to 1,344 units from 1,206 in the previous corresponding period.
Sales of prime movers increased to 76 units in November 2011 from 50 a year earlier while panel van sales improved to 326 units from 262 previously. Sales of buses were, however, down to 74 units from 80 in the previous corresponding period.
In 2010, commercial vehicle sales rose 22% to 61,562 units from 50,563 in 2009.
Full-year total industry volume (TIV) figures for 2011 is expected to be announced later this month by the MAA. Malaysian TIV hit a record high of 605,156 units in 2010.