Moratorium could support car demand, but chip shortages still an issue


THE six-month loan moratorium under the People’s Protection and Economic Recovery Package would help boost vehicle sales as car buyers’ cashflow improves besides the ongoing sales tax exemptions.

Perodua Dealers Association Malaysia president Khairul Nizam Ayob said car models in the mass market range would benefit the most from the loan moratorium although the loan repayment initiative is offered to borrowers across all income brackets.

He said the loan moratorium may lead to greater demand in private vehicles, similar to what had happened in the number of new car registrations in the second half of last year, also lifted by the Sales and Services Tax (SST) exemptions.

“The initiative is advantageous for low-income earners to buy cars during this period.

“Most car dealers are also shifting to digital marketing though the response from the public would take time. Still, the number of bookings is consistently led by the zero-rated SST,” Khairul Nizam told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR).

The global chip crunch had partly affected the total industry volume in May, besides the Movement Control Order and shorter working month during the Hari Raya festive season, according to Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) data.

MAA expects minimal sales in June except for carrying forward May 2021 registration units not invoiced.

Malaysia Automotive, Robotics and IoT Institute (MARii) CEO Datuk Madani Sahari said the loan moratorium provides a lifeline for those vulnerable during the pandemic to survive the economic difficulty, while setting up the foundation for a rebound in the automotive market for the next few months.

He said the provision could be one of the key components, besides the SST exemption, to revive the sector once the movement restrictions recede and consumers are ready to take full advantage of the schemes.

“The SST exemption had played an important role in sustaining industry demand as vehicle sales surpassed the half-million mark at the end of last year.

“Financial security maintains the morale and motivation of affected Malaysians to be in a position to continue economic activity once the worst of the pandemic ends,” he told TMR.

Madani said the government, the International Trade and Industry Ministry and MARii are working closely with industry players and continuously seeking the fairest solutions in managing the pandemic from the health and economic perspective.

For instance, he said the MARii Tracker as announced on June 29 provides a solution to the management of social distancing protocols within business premises that can be deployed once operations are allowed to resume.