The Malaysian automotive sector is off to a predictable but somewhat weak start to the year. As expected, January’s sales are significantly weaker following the frenzy of heavy discounting by dealers in the preceding two months, as dealers and manufacturers alike pushed hard to hit their 2016 targets.
A total of 44,667 new vehicles were sold in the first month of 2017, down 31 percent from December 2016. However the numbers mirror January’s characteristically slow pace, growing just 0.2 percent from January 2016.
Honda continues to be the star, with 8,594 cars sold. The top-selling non-national brand in Malaysia now controls almost 20 percent of the local market. Honda continues to be the star, with 8,594 cars sold. The top-selling non-national brand in Malaysia now controls almost 20 percent of the local market. The company has set its sights to break the 100,000 unit sales per year ceiling by the end of this year, pushed by the tailwind of strong demand for its overachieving models like the BR-V, Civic, City, Jazz and Accord – all of which are best-sellers in their respective segments.
Perodua continues to lead in the overall standings, but its market share is now down 6 percent to 32 percent. Following its dramatic 59 percent month-on-month increase experienced in December 2016, driven mostly by dealer incentives and promotions, sales of Perodua cars have since normalized to 14,203 cars last month, down 42 percent month-on-month.
In the premium segment, Mercedes-Benz is off to a strong start by growing 5 percent month-on-month. Excluding contribution from its commercial vehicles division, sales of Mercedes-Benz passenger vehicles are already outselling mainstream brands like Mazda.
Volkswagen also bucked the trend of a typically weak January by growing 58 percent, possibly boosted by the company’s trade-in campaign for the new Jetta and the all-new Passat.