Cost savvy: Customers checking out the Toyota Prius C hybrid car on display at the UMW Toyota Motor showroom in Ipoh.
THE recent increase in petrol and diesel prices has spurred greater interest in hybrid cars among Ipoh folks.
UMW Toyota Motor Sdn Bhd sales manager Richard Tan Hang Kok said people would think of getting cars that consumed less fuel whenever there was a fuel price hike.
Hybrid cars are vehicles that use two or more different power source such as fuel and electric motors.
“It does help us in our sales as hybrid cars are known to consume less petrol besides being environmentally friendly.
“We have seen a lot more enquiries in the past week at our showroom at Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman and we foresee sales of hybrid cars increase in the next one to two months,” said Tan.
“Questions on whether the Government will extend the duty exemption for hybrid cars beyond this year is also a motivating factor for people to make their purchases before year-end,” he added.
On Sept 3, the Government had reduced its subsidy for RON95
petrol and also diesel by 20 sen to RM2.10 and RM2 per litre, respectively.
The increase prompted a public outcry.
The next day, the price of RON97 petrol was increased by 15 sen to RM2.85 per litre.
Customer service executive Yip Hooi Kian, who was among the many people viewing the hybrid cars on display at the Toyota showroom, said it made more sense to buy a hybrid car because of its fuel efficiency.
“A 20 sen per litre increase in petrol is not much, but if we can save, then, why not?” said the 31-year-old.
Likewise, the Ban Hoe Seng Sdn Bhd showroom on Jalan Raja Permaisuri Bainun has been receiving more visitors of late.
Its general manager Pauline Hsu said interest in hybrid cars by Honda had increased of late although these have yet to be translated into sales figures.
“It will take time for people to decide. After all, buying a car is a big commitment,” she said.
It is, however, a different story altogether at motorcycle showrooms.
L.A. Standard Motors Sdn Bhd owner Chew Kuan Seong said the fuel price hike had not generated any special interest amongst buyers.
“In previous years, we saw sales go up a little each time the fuel price increased.
“However, most people feel that the economy does not look promising this year.
“As such, they are not willing to fork out RM3,000 to RM4,000 for a new or second-hand motorcycle even though it means being able to spend less on fuel compared to driving a car.
“People just make do with what they have,” said Chew, 35, who has been in the business for the past eight years.
Speedy Motors Sdn Bhd owner Chris Chow said people would complain and lament when the price of fuel goes up but then it would soon be forgotten.
“They will curse and swear initially but life goes on after that.
“It’s the same with cigarettes, people keep complaining that it’s expensive and yet they continue to smoke,” he said.
Chow, who has been selling motorcycles for the past three decades, added that sales had been slow for the past few years.
“A hike in petrol price is no longer a motivation for people to switch from driving cars to riding motorcycles,” he said.