Vaccine to secure auto market by 1H21

MCO has affected the number of customers coming to showrooms


THE automotive market is expected to recover from the impact of the Movement Control Order (MCO) 2.0 by the first half of the year (1H21), particularly after the scheduled nationwide Covid-19 vaccination programme.

Proton Edar Sdn Bhd CEO Roslan Abdullah (picture) said the restrictions that are part of the MCO have affected the number of customers coming to showrooms, even though the situation has been compensated by online bookings.

Despite help from online sales, he said the production side for the carmaker has also been disrupted, particularly among vendors and has caused delays.

“Our supply lines have been disrupted over the last few months by the coronavirus making it difficult to ensure a steady flow of parts needed to build our cars.

“It’s something all car manufacturers have been facing for the past year, but we are hopeful that with the arrival of a vaccine things will stabilise by the middle of the year,” Roslan said in a statement yesterday.

He said Proton’s orderbook remains healthy with orders carried over from the end of last year and the company is working hard for supply to catch up to demand.

As it is, he said Proton will keep to its product launch plans for 2021 as the company strives for more sales growth both domestically and abroad.

Proton’s sales in January took a hit from the MCO with volume dropping 29.9% to 5,964 units compared to a year ago.

The carmaker’s market share was estimated at 18.5%, about 1% less from last year, to finish second in the industry.

However, it said the overall figures are a reflection of supply not being able to meet demand rather than a reduction in bookings.

Proton said Malaysia’s automotive sales for January were forecasted to be slightly above 32,000 units, corresponding with a major drop in volume for most major players.

The company said Proton Saga led the sales in January with 2,583 units sold, the second most popular A-segment sedan in the country.

Proton X70 and Proton X50 SUV twins continued to lead the C-segment SUV and B-segment SUV (five-seat) categories though registered units were down to 892 and 1,082 units respectively.

For the latter, a total of 4,809 units have been delivered since the official launch on Oct 27 last year.

Meanwhile, Perusahaan Otomobil Kedua Sdn Bhd (Perodua) is envisioned to sell 240,000 vehicles in 2021, up 9% from the 220,163 units sold in 2020.

Perodua president and CEO Datuk Zainal Abidin Ahmad said the sustained strong demand for the company’s existing models and the extension of the sales tax exemption as announced by the government recently would drive the volume.

“With the extension of the sales tax exemption to end-June 2021, recent Covid-19 vaccine developments and all our models continuing to be in demand, we believe 2021 will be the year of recovery,” he said in a statement yesterday.

He said the compact carmaker is expected to purchase a record RM6.5 billion worth of locally-sourced components in 2021.

Perodua is looking to boost its production target to 272,000 vehicles this year — the highest in its history — representing a 23% increase over the 220,968 units manufactured in 2020.

He said Perodua is expecting its service intakes to grow 20% from two million units in 2020 to 2.4 million units in 2021 comprising both current and new customers.

Read our earlier report

Proton’s sales down in Jan due to MCO