PETALING JAYA: National carmaker Proton Holdings Bhd is the only automotive player to register double-digit sales growth of nearly 50% in the first seven months of this year as demand for most non-national marques sees negative growth.
Many consumers are holding back on their purchases as they are expecting new models to be launched in the second half of the year.
According to CGS-CIMB research, Proton sales jumped to 52,108 units in the first seven months of 2019 from 35,208 units in the previous corresponding period.
Comparatively, sales of Perusahaan Otomobil Kedua Sdn Bhd (Perodua) grew 0.6% to 141,706 units in the first seven months of 2019 compared with 140,928 units in the previous corresponding period.
The research house noted that most major non-national car companies: Honda, Mazda, Nissan, Toyota, BMW, Ford, Mercedes Benz, Volkswagen, Lexus, Isuzu and Mitsubishi recorded decrease in sales in the first seven months of 2019 compared with the same period a year ago.The jump in Proton sales saw year-on-year total car sales rise 10% to 193,814 units in the first seven months of 2019, while total non-national vehicle sales dropped 16% to 153,373 units during the same period.
Frost & Sullivan Asia Pacific mobility, aerospace, defence and security consulting analyst Nur Afiqah Mohamad said Proton’s strong comeback can be greatly attributed to the release of its sport-utility vehicle (SUV), the X70.
“The SUV sub-segment has been gaining immense popularity in recent years, and with the release of Proton X70 and Perodua Aruz, national carmakers are able to appeal to a wider customer base.
“Equipped with specifications comparable to their mainstream competitors, and affordable selling price as a key selling point, we are optimistic that the national car brands will continue to sustain the recent surge in sales, ” she told StarBiz in an e-mail reply.
After a gap of 40 months, Proton has returned to second in total sales for Malaysia’s automotive market. The last time the company was in a similar position was in March 2016, while the last calendar year it finished second was in 2015.