KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian vehicle manufacturers need to price their cars more competitively and increase their quality in order to boost sales overseas.
"If the pricing is competitive and the quality is good, people will buy. We cannot force people to buy our cars," Datuk Seri Mustapha Mohamed (pic) said in response to a question by Datuk Adam Hamid in the Dewan Negara Thursday.
The International Trade and Industry (Miti) Minister said only 20,000 local cars were sold to Asean countries last year.
"To be honest, we have not fully succeeded in the vehicle industry in terms of Asean trade.
Adam had asked if vehicle manufacturers could take advantage of the upcoming Asean Economic Community (AEC) to increase sales.
Of the 20,000 locally manufactured cars exported last year, 7,000 were Mazda cars.
Most were sold to Thailand, with a small amount of Perodua cars sold to Indonesia and other Asean member countries.
"Malaysia manufactured 650,000 cars while Thailand manufactured two million cars and sold half of them overseas.
"This is because unlike Malaysia, Thailand has an open policy where incentives and ownership is given to the companies, and there is no limit to ownership," he said.
He added that another factor was the Non-Tariff Barriers, which meant Asean countries could freely sell their cars in all member countries without being imposed import duty.
They only had to pay for Goods and Service Tax (GST) and excise duty, said Mustapa.