Perodua and Proton’s rise hurting Japanese rivals

1H19 has been a disappointing period for non-national carmakers

By RAHIMI YUNUS / Pic By TMR File

THE continued dominance of Perusahaan Otomobil Kedua Sdn Bhd (Perodua) and turnaround of Proton Holdings Bhd have seen the two carmakers eating into Japanese brands’ market share, raising the competition in the automotive market.

In the first half of 2019 (1H19), Perodua and Proton sold 165,300 passenger cars, accounting for 61.1% of total units sold for the period.

During the 1H18 period, these two carmakers only sold 144,204 units, with Proton shipping 27,106 units.

In 1H19, Proton sold 43,518 units, according to the Malaysian Automotive Association’s (MAA) figures.

The rise of Proton and Perodua saw major Japanese brands’ market share drop compared to last year.

“The national cars have picked up in terms of market share and the non-national carmakers have slightly less. But the non-nationals (carmakers) are not going to stand still and there will be a lot of promotions. There is a healthy competition,” MAA president Datuk Aishah Ahmad said at the recent 1H19 Market Review.

Perodua, the country’s No 1 carmaker based on units sold, delivered 121,782 cars in the first six months of this year, up 4% or 4,684 units compared to 117,098 units last year.

Demand for crowd favourites Perodua Myvi, Axia and Bezza helped the AFPSerendah-based carmaker to increase its market share to 45% during the 1H19 period.

Perodua said its flagship SUV Aruz continues to boost the volume with 24,663 bookings and 15,089 units delivered in 1H19, accounting for 13% of the carmaker’s total sales, six months after its launch.

The positive responses saw Perodua revising its 2019 sales target upwards from 231,000 units to 235,000 units for this year.

Proton’s revival is evident in MAA’s 1H19 statistics as the carmaker’s sales rose by 60.5% compared to a year ago.

Its market share jumped from 10.4% to 16.1% in 1H19. Its first SUV, the X70, has been a huge success. In the first five months of this year, Proton sold 13,572 units of the X70, making it the market leader in the segment.

Moreover, 1H19 has been a disappointing period for all carmakers.

Honda, Nissan, Mazda and Mitsubishi sold fewer cars in the January-June 2019 period compared to a year ago.

Honda Malaysia Sdn Bhd delivered 44,260 units in 1H19, down 13.8% or 7,094 cars from 51,354 units sold last year. But it remains as the top non-national carmaker and retains the position as the second best-seller in terms of total industry volume (TIV). Its market share, however, dropped from 19.7% to 16.3%.

Mitsubishi saw its volume drop 29.8% or 571 units in 1H19, Nissan decline 8.2% or 725 units and Mazda down 1.8% or 118 units.

Mitsubishi vehicles are officially distributed by Mitsubishi Motors Malaysia Sdn Bhd, Nissan by Tan Chong Motor Holdings Bhd and Mazda by Bermaz Auto Bhd.

The three German brands — Volkswagen, Mercedes and BMW — also saw sales decline by 21.3% (711 units), 18.8% (1,278 units) and 5.7% (305 units) respectively.

The local official distributors for these makes are Volkswagen Passenger Cars Malaysia Sdn Bhd, Mercedes-Benz Malaysia Sdn Bhd and BMW Group Malaysia respectively.

Aishah said the association maintained its original forecast of 600,000 units for TIV, with passenger cars expected to achieve 534,000 units.

She said the cut in the Overnight Policy Rate to 3%, the introduction of new models, stringent hire-purchase lending rules, and consumers and businesses spending sentiment will influence the car market.

Most analysts concurred with MAA and kept their TIV forecasts for the year.

Carmakers sold 296,334 vehicles in 1H19, 2.3% higher or 6,735 units more compared to the same period last year. This is equivalent to 49.4% of MAA’s 600,000 units of TIV.

The private car segment rose by 3.8% or 9,952 units to 270,875 units, compared to 260,923 units sold in 2018.

It will be an exciting 2H19 for carmakers as all brands are expected to challenge the dominance of Perodua and Proton.