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Thursday January 25, 2007

Malaysian auto sales down 11% in 2006


PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s total vehicle sales declined 11% to 490,768 units last year due to stricter hire purchase conditions, higher fuel prices and poor trade-in value for used cars. 

In the same period, Proton Holdings Bhd’s market share declined to 32% while Perusahaan Otomobil Kedua Sdn Bhd’s (Perodua) car sales were up, raising its market share to 42% . 

The slowdown in the industry resulted in Malaysian Automotive Association's (MAA) revision of its 2007 forecast of total industry volume to 500,000 units from an earlier forecast of 520,000 units.  

The association also forecasts growth to improve by 1.9%  

MAA president Datuk Aishah Ahmad said this revision was driven by poor values in the used car market and difficulties in acquiring hire purchase loans, 

But she said despite the poor numbers MAA expected the situation to improve in the second half of the year. 

“There will be new models launched and we expect the players to come up with competitive pricing, allowing the industry to improve,” she said at MAA’s press briefing on Market Review for 2006 and 2007 Outlook on Thursday. 

She also said 2006's vehicle sales were not the lowest recorded in the last five years as in 2004, sales were only 487,605 units. 

Aishah said despite 2006 being a “trying year” for industry players, the decline was felt in neighbouring markets such as Indonesia and Thailand. 

Indonesia faced the largest drop with vehicle sales declining 43%, while Thailand’s auto industry suffered a 4% decline in sales. 

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