Perodua has the market cornered when it comes to A-segment and B-segment vehicles in Malaysia and has carved out a very lucrative niche as the country’s first choice when it comes to those kinds of compact and value-oriented models.
However, like any other automaker with a narrower focus, they too will face issues with product overlap or ‘cannibalisation’, wherein certain models, while distinct, are similar enough to cut into the appeal (and eventual sales) of another model within the line-up.
With the Ativa kicking off 2021 with a bang as the year’s most highly anticipated new launch, Perodua must not only ensure that their all-new compact SUV debuts as an extremely competitive package next to its external rivals, but that it’s also differentiated from its in-house offerings too.
As it turns out, this was a pretty major consideration for the automaker, and they’ve identified their most recent ‘SUV’, the Aruz, as the likeliest point of overlap with the Ativa, followed by the prolific Myvi.
Naturally, Perodua would like all customers - both existing and new to the brand - to not be swayed by what will be coming in the future. However, with the rollout of the latest features always coming to the newest model first, the ‘FOMO ‘ (Fear of Missing Out) effect can easily dilute the appeal of a car that isn’t as freshly launched.
Interestingly enough, should any product cannibalisation take place, the company expects the range-topping Myvi AV (currently at RM52,700) to be the most vulnerable. After all, both the Ativa and Myvi occupy the B-segment category with five-doors, decent interior space, an economical engine, and youthful image, all wrapped up in an easy-to-manoeuvre/ park hatchback design.
With the Ativa’s pricing set between RM60k to RM70k, Perodua have clearly attempted to keep the two models separated on cost alone, where only the top-spec Myvi AV would be within jumping distance. However, even then, customers tempted by the new model’s SUV charms would still need to spend a little extra to reach the base Ativa variant.
Meanwhile, as Perodua’s largest vehicle, the Aruz doesn’t need to worry about buyers getting jealous of the Ativa’s space advantage like the Myvi. Still, it would still be vulnerable due to other disparities such as the Ativa’s superior safety tech, refinement levels, and powertrain advantage.
In particular, the entry-level Aruz X (currently at RM68,530) corresponds most closely with the mid-spec Ativa but, again, comes up short in those same comparisons from the previous sentence. It’s unique asset here is its unmatched practicality and versatility to which the Ativa has no response.
Need 7-seats or the capacity to carry even more cargo than the Ativa’s 370-litre boot can swallow up? Then you need the Aruz, and there’s no two ways about it.
Officially, Perodua expects no more than a 5 percent rate of cannibalisation between the Ativa and specific variants of those two existing models: the Myvi AV and the Aruz X. When taken in perspective of how many different vehicle permutations the company currently offers, mild product overlap of an all-new model with just 2 variants is pretty manageable - even negligible.
Remember, too, that this isn’t the first time Perodua has faced off concerns that introducing a new model would result in the inadvertent cannibalising of an existing vehicle range. In fact, this risk was much higher when the Aruz stepped onto the scene and possibly all over the Alza’s toes.
In fact, there was more concern around the Aruz not being able to sway buyers its way since the Alza was already established as the brand’s more spacious option, fending off attacks from the Proton Exora without too much trouble.
Like the Aruz, the Alza also occupies the MPV space (though the Aruz identifies as an SUV) and offer 7-seats, tonnes of practicality - albeit without quite as large an overall footprint - as well as posting near-identical outputs from their very similar 1.5-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder engines.
Despite all that, since the Aruz’s early 2019 launch, both models have largely stayed out of each other’s way and continue to play into their own unique strengths, therefore attracting different buyers. Ideally, that will be the case with Ativa as well. Actually, it’s looking likelier each day that Perodua’s newest addition will be increasing their market share at close to zero detriment to any other model internally.
All we need to do know is to drive one and see if it lives up to the hype.