Higher September sales not indicative of outlook
for next year
KUALA LUMPUR: The higher motor vehicle sales in
Malaysia for September is not indicative of the industry’s
outlook for next year, with the overall sales trend expected to
be down given the weakening prospects in the domestic economy,
Vehicle sales in September rose 7.4% from August
and 13% from September 2007.
Analysts pointed out that the boost in sales in
September was a bit of an anomaly, partly due to buyers switching
from more expensive models to the economical national car makes
and consumers rushing to get their cars before the Hari Raya holidays.
But next year will be different, as the global
slowdown kicks in and affects the local economy, they said.
“I am predicting a 10% contraction in sales
for 2009,’’ said an analyst with a local brokerage.
He said the fall should not be larger because
Malaysia’s gross domestic product was still expected to grow
next year and that public infrastructure was still inadequate,
making it necessary for people to own a car.
But AmResearch is looking at a 17% reduction in
total vehicle sales next year.
Analysts are expecting a lack of new car launches,
especially for the mass market, to hold back sales.
Among the few launches next year are Proton’s
multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) and a new Perodua model in the latter
part of the year.
Apart from that, Honda’s City is the only
other car that is projected to be launched. This could generate
some volume for the industry.
Another factor that could hold back sales next
year is financing.
Hire purchase rates have gone up and that could
affect demand in a weaker economy.
“Banks are bracing for lower volumes and
have responded by raising their margins,’’ said one
Meantime, good sales are expected to continue
for the rest of this year with the Malaysian Automotive Association
expecting full year sales to surpass its 2008 sales forecast of
Analysts said the jump in sales in September was
mostly felt by national car makers which saw a rise in market share
while the market share of the big Japanese car companies saw a
“There has been a migration to Perodua and
Proton,’’ said an analyst.
Proton’s new launches this year has seen
the company claw back market share in the industry as the last
two launches - the Persona and the Saga - is said to account for
over 90% of Proton’s increase in sales.
The September sales performance in Malaysia bucked
global trends as car makers in numerous countries were experiencing
In the US, Europe and Japan, sales were down between
10% and 35% in September compared with August.