Honda overtakes Toyota to become non-national champion

HONDA has overtaken Toyota to become the bestselling non-national automotive marque in Malaysia, based on sales data in the first quarter of 2015.

Honda sales jumped 41.7% year-on-year to 22,145 units in the first three months of this year - driven by the jump in sales of its sport utility vehicles (SUVs), noted CIMB Research.

In contrast, sales of Toyota passenger cars and commercial vehicles dropped 40% and 13% year-on-year to 10,722 and 5,519 units respectively, in the quarter under review.

CIMB Research says Honda is now the clear leader in the non-national segment, with a 13.2% share of the market.

“Honda new compact HR-V sport utility vehicle has reportedly received more than 10,000 bookings since its launch,” says the research unit.

Regarding the surprising decline in Toyota sales, Hong Leong Investment Bank (HLIB) Research says this is due to stiff competition and new car launches by rival marques.

“We believe its newly set 90,000 sales target this year is relatively far-fetched, given first quarter sales of about 16,200 units. Toyota is now banking on the newly launched Camry hybrid to boost sales,” says HLIB Research.

As for Nissan cars, distributed by Tan Chong Motor Holdings Bhd , sales jumped 10.6% year-on-year to 13,226 units in the first quarter.

Meanwhile, Mazda cars also saw stellar sales in the first quarter, and this led CIMB Research to advise investors to continue to accumulate the stocks of Berjaya Auto Bhd, the only auto stock in its portfolio that has an Add call.

For the first quarter, the sales volume of Mazda cars, distributed by Berjaya Auto, jumped 49.4% year-on-year to 3,372 units - mainly driven by the strong sales of its new Mazda2.

CIMB Research added that judging by the overwhelming success of the Honda HR-V, the launch of the Mazda CX-3 compact SUV in Malaysia by July 2015 should provide another boost to Berjaya Auto’s growth.

Berjaya Auto Bhd remains as the automotive sector’s top pick by CIMB Research.

As for national marques, Perodua reported a strong 30% year-on-year sales growth in the first quarter to 57,153 units while Proton saw a 15% year-on-year sales drop to 27,682 units.

MIDF Research attributes the strong Perodua sales to high demand for Axia, and the introduction of the Myvi facelift in late January.

“We expect Perodua to achieve its targeted 208,000 sales this year,” says HLIB Research, which notes that the Perodua Axia had received 100,000 bookings by mid-April, with deliveries of 60,000 units by end-March.

The research unit also says Perodua’s newly launched GearUp bodykit and accessories are expected to improve its branding (customer loyalty) and margins.

Concerning the near-term outlook for Proton, HLIB Research notes that Proton sales had improved 27.6% month-on-month in March to 10,528 units after a sales campaign launched in end-February.

“Proton is boosting the number of 3S (sales, service and spare parts) centres to rebuild its brand and provide better after sales support, while recapturing margins.

“The management has guided improving demand for Iriz in the coming months, after they sorted out the production line for the 1.3-litre version,” says the research unit.

Automotive , Auto sales