In its latest Malaysia Automotive Outlook, Frost and Sullivan predicted a 2.9 per cent year-on-year decline in vehicle sales for 2013. The Total Industry Volume for sales in 2012 is expected to be around the 618,000 unit mark – a 3% increase from 2011′s TIV. However, the figure for 2013 is predicted to drop to 600,000 units due to the overall uncertainty regarding the outcome of the upcoming general elections and the likely revision of the National Automotive Policy (NAP).
In 2012, B-segment vehicles and MPVs exhibited the biggest improvement. The growth in sales of these two segments as compared to their 2011 figures stand at 6.4% and 4.2% respectively. The only segments which experienced a decline in sales are the A-segment and the SUV segment. Figures for the A-segment dropped by 9.9 per cent while sales of SUVs took a minor hit with a 1.6 per cent decline.It is likely that the drop in A-segment vehicle sales is related to the hike in that of the B-segment. Frost and Sullivan pointed out that the second generation Myvi, a B-segment car, is a prime mover for customer migration from the A-segment. The MPV segment growth was driven by the launch of several new models such as the Livina X-Gear as well as the Bold and Prime variants of the Proton Exora.
Commercial vehicles enjoyed a growth of 14.8 per cent in 2012 and this is mainly due to strong demands in the construction and manufacturing sectors. New launches such as the more powerful Toyota Hilux VNT, Chevrolet Colorado and the new Ford Ranger also helped expand the pickup segment in terms of variety and customer appeal.The top five manufacturers in Malaysia in terms of total market share have maintained their position firmly over the past three years. Perodua leads the pack while fellow carmaker Proton trail in second place. Toyota continues its reign as the highest-selling non-national carmaker followed by Honda and Nissan. It is worth noting that Proton is the only manufacturer in the top five that suffered a decline in its total market share – from 29.6% in 2011 to 26.3% in 2012. This is likely due to the increased competitiveness of the C-segment market in light of many new launches on top of green car incentives and various promotions that prompt customers to look elsewhere.
The Malaysian economy is expected to maintain a healthy growth of about 5 per cent come 2013, especially with the rise of the construction and oil and gas sectors but demand in the automotive market is not as strong as the economic outlook. This is mainly due to the likeliness of fuel price hikes and stricter loan approvals on top of the impending NAP revision which is holding many back at the moment.
Despite the predicted decline in sales for 2013, Frost and Sullivan still foresees development in certain areas, specifically in the commercial vehicle and energy efficient vehicle (EEV) segments. The EEV segment especially, is one that is poised for greater growth. Current incentives which run till the end of 2013 already mean that buyers of hybrid cars enjoy 100 per cent import and excise duty exemption. Further incentives to promote local assembly of such vehicles as well as perks to increase demand such as income tax exemptions are also being considered, which could lead to a significant rise of EEV sales.Honda has already signalled its intent to make hybrids more accessible to the public with the launch of the CKD Jazz Hybrid. Recent pilot programmes point towards the introduction of all-electric models such as the Renault Fluence ZE and Mitsubishi MiEV as early as this year. If all of these fall into place as planned, Frost and Sullivan expects the sales figures for hybrids and EVs to rise to 35,000 units as opposed to 18,000 in 2012 and 8,309 in 2011. The sales figure of hybrid vehicles was as small as 327 units just three years ago.
Overall, Frost and Sullivan’s prediction of a decline in vehicle sales for 2013 is heavily dependent on the outcome of the general election and the much anticipated NAP revision. However, the EEV segment is a safe bet for growth given the increased awareness, demand, infrastructure and market options for such vehicles which have sprouted in great numbers of late within the country.