Tuesday July 19, 2011
By EUGENE MAHALINGAM
PETALING JAYA: Sales of automobiles in Malaysia are expected to reach a new record this year despite the disruption in supply following the earthquake in Japan in March and delays to vehicle registrations due to the amendments made to the Hire Purchase Act 1967 (HPA), said the Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA).
Despite revising downwards its total industry volume (TIV) forecast to 608,000 units from 618,000 units initially for 2011, the projection, if achieved, will still be higher than the record high of 605,156 units achieved last year.
“The quantum of decline in monthly total industry production is reducing. This can be attributed to the remedial measures undertaken by Japanese car manufacturers to overcome the disruption in supply chain,” said MAA president Datuk Aishah Ahmad at a briefing yesterday.
She also said efforts were being made by the Domestic Trade, Cooperative and Consumerism Ministry and the relevant stakeholders to discuss and resolve the “teething operational problems” following the enforcement of the amended HPA on June 15.
For the first six months of 2011, total vehicle sales slipped 1.3% to 297,203 units from 301,115 units in the previous corresponding period.
Passenger car sales during the six-month period fell 2.3% to 265,654 units from 271,903 units a year earlier but sales of commercial vehicles rose 8% to 31,549 units from 29,212 units in the same period a year earlier.
“The plants of commercial vehicles are located towards the south of Japan and these were not affected by the earthquake. Also, demand for commercial vehicles is still there,” said Aishah.
Despite trailing last year’s TIV in the first six months of 2011, Aishah said vehicle sales could still catch up and surpass last year’s total vehicle sales record, which was in itself a new high for Malaysia since hitting 552,316 units in 2005.
“Positive consumer sentiments are expected to continue owing to greater stability in the employment market and the introduction of new models may help to sustain buying interest,” she said, adding that production supply issues of local players should be fully resolved by August.
According to the MAA, vehicle sales in June 2011 were down 23% to 41,790 units from 54,005 units a year earlier.
The association said sales volume for July is expected to improve.
“The supply situation has improved with full recovery expected over the next one to two months,” it said in a statement, adding that the hiccups caused by the implementation of amendments to the HPA would be resolved.