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New models to rev up car industry [26-09-2012]  
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New car model launches are expected to buoy the total industry volume (TIV) growth for the automotive sector in the fourth quarter, says OSK Research Sdn Bhd.

Based on its channel checks, OSK said any weakness in sales in September and October would be marginal.

"TIV growth year-to-date remains in positive territory at 1.7 per cent, slightly ahead of our forecast of a 1.1 per cent growth in 2012.

"Sales for non-national marques in July to August period remained quite encouraging, despite talks of the likelihood of a reduction in excise duty, which could be announced in the upcoming 2013 Budget or in the National Automotive Policy (NAP)," it said in a research note yesterday.

However, the research firm expects the new announcement pertaining to the automotive sector to be unveiled in the upcoming NAP, with the date yet to be set.

"What could be reviewed in 2013 Budget is the follow-up on whether the 100 per cent tax exemption on imports for hybrid and electric vehicles for 2000cc and below, which is due to expire end-2013, will be extended," it said.

OSK has upgraded its call to "overweight" from "neutral" for the sector and retained UMW and Mercedes-Benz Malaysia as its top picks in the larger and mid-cap space.

Meanwhile, Hong Leong Investment Bank has maintained its "neutral" call on the automotive sector, on potential exports to regional markets, despite a slowdown in the Malaysian economy.

"Proton's July sales of 12,800 units were lower than our previous assumptions of 14,000 units, and have deteriorated further to 11,000 in August despite management guidance of strong Preve orders.

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