SUVs deliver almost 30% of total volume for premium brands in 2017

Mercedes-Benz Malaysia expects the SUV trend to continue

By RAHIMI YUNUS / Pic By MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

The SUV segment accounts for as much as almost 30% of the total vehicles sales for premium brands in 2017, helping major expensive brands to boast about another stunning year.

Besides the size, consumers — especially young buyers and families who have an active lifestyle — in the country are turning to these rugged and bold looking vehicles, similar to the global trend.

The leading premium brand in Malaysia, Mercedes-Benz Malaysia Sdn Bhd (MBM), sold 2,599 units of SUVs, or 22% out of the 12,045 units total passenger vehicles delivered last year. The local distributor for the German-based Silver Arrow brand, has been riding the wave with 55% of the total SUVs sold featuring its GLC 250 model. The company also introduced a GLC 200 at below the RM300,000 price level to boost the brand.

“We have been able to capture a whole new breed of customers who are fascinated by the premium SUVs,” MBM sales and marketing VP Mark Raine (picture) said during the company’s media briefing on 2017 full-year sales performance.

MBM expects the trend to continue.

Its closest rival, BMW Group Malaysia, also fared well last year, registering an all-time high sales volume totalling 12,680 units of BMW, MINI and BMW Motorrad vehicles in 2017.

But for BMW vehicles, the German carmaker sold 10,618 units, up from the 9,000 vehicles registered in 2016.

What is interesting is over 28% or more than 3,000 units sold by BMW were the SUV X5 xDrive40e.

Other models like the X6, X4 and X3 also add to the SUV excitement for the BMW brand.

Swedish automaker Volvo Car Malaysia Sdn Bhd (VCM) is another contender in the premium SUV segment in the country.

In January, it launched the long- awaited second generation Volvo XC60 T8 twin-engine, following the success of the midsize SUV’s predecessor first introduced nine years ago.

The initial launch of the SUV has already registered 100 completely built-up units sold while the completely knocked-down models will be rolled out beginning April.

Globally, the original XC60 sold nearly a million units, representing 30% of Volvo’s total global sales.

“We know that the SUV segment is expanding in Malaysia and we would like to capture the rising interest,” VCM MD Lennart Stegland said at the launch of the new XC60 in Petaling Jaya recently.

VCM also has the XC90 and XC40 models in its SUV line-up.

To cement its growth, it launched the Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine Inscription Plus, a new variant for the plug-in hybrid SUV early this year.

Other brands like Audi, Lexus, Range Rover and Porsche are also making headway with their SUVs models, expanding their total sales for the year.