Perodua has no immediate plan to make hybrid cars

SHAH ALAM: Perusahaan Otomobil Kedua Sdn Bhd (Perodua) has no immediate plan to manufacture hybrid vehicles as it wants to focus on producing “affordable, mass-market” cars, said managing director Datuk Syed Abdull Hafiz Syed Abu Bakar.

“Hybrid and electric cars are here to stay but we have no immediate plans (to manufacture the cars) because Perodua’s objective is to make cars affordable for the masses,” he said at a Perodua Alza prize-giving ceremony here yesterday.

It was reported last week that national carmaker Proton Holdings Bhd plans to embark on mass production of hybrid cars by 2011 to overcome rising costs and address environmental concerns.

“People talk about hybrid and electric cars when the economy is down. But when it improves, everyone forgets about them,” Hafiz said, adding that hybrid cars were “expensive to buy, maintain and insure.”

“As a compact car company, Perodua’s objective is to manufacture affordable cars for the masses. To cater to this market, our cars need to be within a certain price range,” he said.

Currently, Honda Malaysia Sdn Bhd and UMW Toyota Motor Sdn Bhd are the only two official franchise holders offering their own hybrid models in Malaysia – the Honda Civic Hybrid and Toyota Prius respectively.

The Civic and Prius are priced from RM129,000 and RM175,000 respectively.

Hafiz also said Perodua had no plan to launch diesel cars, and that “when we launch our next new model in 2011, it will be a compact, petrol-based car.”

He also revealed that 20% of Perodua Alza bookings comprised single buyers, with 83% of overall buyers choosing the automatic transmission.

Response to the Alza multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) has been overwhelming with the company having received over 11,000 bookings since Nov 13.

Perodua had set an initial target of selling between 3,500 and 4,000 Alza units a month.

But due to the better-than-expected reception, the company has revised its initial sales target of 162,000 Perodua vehicles to 164,000 by year-end.

Sales up to November stood at 151,000 units, according to Hafiz, with Perodua expecting to sell 13,000 vehicles in December.

“Our monthly bookings for November, which stood at 26,357 units was the second highest ever after 29,900 units achieved in June 2005,” he noted.

Hafiz said that with the good demand for Perodua cars, especially for the Alza, the company was confident of meeting its target of selling 176,000 units next year – its highest ever.

“Looking at bookings so far, we expect 2010 to be the best year for Perodua in terms of registrations. With the economy recovering, fuel prices will escalate and at the end of the day, it comes down to fuel consumption,” he said.

Hafiz added that Perodua would be launching “one or two” face-lift models next year, hinting that it would be based on the Myvi.

“The Myvi is here to stay. It’s affordable and just the right size. It’s quite a versatile car,” he said.

Meanwhile, four Myvi buyers won a Perodua Alza each after they were picked as the grand prize winners of the company’s “Myvi Moment” contest, which was held from June 13 to July 31.

The contestants had to purchase a Myvi during the period of the contest to qualify for the draw.

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