Car sales expected to rebound in 4Q

Final quarter will likely record the highest sales due to year-end promotions

by RAHIMI YUNUS/ pic by TMR FILE 

CAR sales in Malaysia are expected to pick up in the fourth quarter this year (4Q19), supported by new launches and year-end sales campaigns.

Kenanga Investment Bank Bhd analyst Wan Mustaqim Wan Ab Aziz said the final quarter would likely record the highest sales of the year, contributed by bumper sales derived from the usual year-end promotions offered by carmakers.

“4Q19 should be the strongest quarter from the usual year-end sales to make up for the rest of our 2019 forecasts of 600,000 units, which is in line with the MAA’s (Malaysian Automotive Association),” he told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR).

Wan Mustaqim said 4Q19 would outnumber the corresponding period last year that had a lower base following the three-month tax holiday.

New launches including the locally assembled Proton X70 (picture), Mazda CX-8 and Mazda CX-5 facelift would entice the market and drive sales, he added.

JF Apex Securities Bhd analyst Nursuhaiza Hashim said sales for September onwards should be normalised after a higher base during the tax-free period last year.

Nursuhaiza maintained an initial total industry volume (TIV) forecast of 611,300 units in 2019.

Proton Holdings Bhd is expected to roll out the completely knocked-down version of X70 starting November, according to reports.

Bermaz Auto Bhd, the original equipment manufacturer of Mazda, is scheduled to launch the new Mazda car models, which are expected to drive sales for the company in the domestic market.

The new facelift of CX-5 is scheduled to be unveiled soon while the seven-seater CX-8 is slated for next month and CX-30 by early next year.

Market observers also estimate that Honda Malaysia Sdn Bhd might be launching the all-new Accord in the next couple of months.

As at August 2019, carmakers sold 398,335 vehicles or 66.39% of MAA’s TIV forecast of 600,000 units for the year.

TIV in August declined by 22% to 51,148 units compared to 65,550 units in the same month a year ago, due to the zero-rated Goods and Services Tax in August last year.

The passenger vehicle segment slipped by 16.1% to 46,802 units, while the commercial vehicle segment dropped 55.6% to 4,346 units in the month reviewed.

In the January-August period, Proton posted a 36% growth in sales to 61,396 units from 45,062 in the same period last year, contributed by sales of the X70 SUV and face-lifted models of the Saga, Iriz and Persona brands.

Proton bucked the trend of declining sales largely seen in the market due to the high base effect from the tax holiday in 2018.

The government is expected to introduce the revised National Automotive Policy soon, which would determine the future direction of the local automotive industry.

Automotive players are largely seeking the government’s support in creating incentives and a conducive business environment with a level playing field that could be the impetus for new technology.