SALES and bookings for cars have doubled since the zero-rating of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
Coupled with Hari Raya promotions, many car dealers say they have seen a spike in sales since June 1 and are expecting this to continue before the introduction of the Sales and Services Tax (SST) in September.
Kym Looe, 47, executive director of car dealer Honda Ban Hoe Seng Sdn Bhd, said with GST being zero-rated, prices of the Honda cars that the company sells are lower by between RM4,000 and RM18,000, depending on the model.
“Bookings have been overwhelming since June 1. As of June 20, we have sold about 80 cars compared to the usual 70 cars per month,” she told MetroPerak.
“We are confident that we can reach the 100-vehicle mark by the end of the month or maybe even more,” she said.
“It is because of the tax-free period now that people are more willing to spend their money to buy a new car,” she added.
Looe said the additional discounts from Hari Raya festive promotions also raised bookings.
“The promotion ranges from RM1,500 to RM5,000 depending on the model. For instance, if you want to buy a Honda Accord sedan, you will be able to save up to RM5,000,” she said.
“Promotions for popular models like the City or the Civic can go up to RM4,000 and RM1,500 respectively,” she added.
SST is scheduled take effect in September while the Hari Raya promotions for all car dealerships will end on June 30.
Looe said she is worried that sales might drop with the introduction of SST.
“We are expecting at least a 10% drop in sales in September. It is speculated that the prices of cars will increase again with the implementation of SST,” she said.
“We just hope that once the customers have adjusted to the SST, the market will return to normal,” she added.
Looe said that there will still be other promotions after September to help with the expected price hikes.
“Based on previous years, customers can expect a National Day promotion in September that offers savings of up to RM14,000 depending on the car model.
“We will also be having a year-end promotion where customers can expect promotions ranging from RM3,000 to RM15,000,” she said.
Tiang Hooi Automobile Sdn Bhd sales manager Cho Choon Yap, 35, said sales for Kia cars the company distributes have also doubled since June 1.
“Every month, we normally sell at least 10 cars but we have now sold 20 cars.
“As for our Hari Raya promotions, all cars except for the Kia Picanto will come with a discount of at least RM10,000,” he said.
“Models such as the Sorento, Sportage and the Optima K5 GT are being offered with up to an RM20,000 discount,” he added.
Cho said more customers have been showing up at his showroom as roadshows.
“The Picanto compact car, which contributes to 50% of our sales, has attracted a lot of attention from customers recently as there is a high demand now for smaller cars in the Ipoh market,” he said.
“Although business has been booming lately, I hope customer numbers will still stay strong after the introduction of SST,” he added.
Proton distributor Gerak Roda Services Sdn Bhd sales manager Justin Ong Boon How, 42, said his showroom has received 256 bookings for various Proton vehicles as of June 19.
“Our supply of cars is barely keeping up with the demand.
“We really did not expect sales to increase by about 50%,” he said, adding that customers could save between RM2,200 and RM4,000 with GST at 0%.
“We will try our best to meet demand, but customers can expect slightly longer waits if they order the best-selling Proton Saga or a model in a popular colour,” he said, adding that demand has been so high that the Exora is out of stock at the moment.
Ong said he expects sales to increase in August.
“Malaysians generally love to buy things at the last minute so I expect that people will rush here to buy a car before the SST is introduced.
“We are expecting about 300 bookings to be made in August compared to the normal 100 bookings per month,” he said.
“All I can say is, if people want to buy a new car, now might be the best time to do so,” he added.
G-Mart Ipoh Motor Sdn Bhd branch manager Jerry Chan, 40, said he too did not expect some three months’ worth of Toyota vehicles would be ordered in just a month.
“Although the number of orders have increased, the number of vehicles we have in stock are limited. We have already sold out the stock for June as well as July and there are certain car models like the Vios, which contributes to 40% of our total sales, that are also sold out up to August,” he said.
“I can understand how the bookings have increased by up to 50% as prices have gone down by between RM4,000 to RM30,000 depending on the model,” he added.
Jerry said, currently, customers also get the benefit of Hari Raya promotions ranging from RM1,000 to RM3,500.
“The promotion include free accessories for every car except the Vios,” he said, adding that Vios buyers receive vouchers for free car servicing instead.
“Hopefully, there will still be other promotions after the tax holiday so that customers will not be reluctant to buy a new car,” he added.
Jerry’s colleague, sales head Chan Hoon Ming, 41, said he does not expect a situation like the “tax holiday” to happen again anytime soon.
“Customers who would like to buy a new car should take the chance to buy it now and make the decision quickly. Cars cannot be bought at the last minute as they are a different type of merchandise and cannot be produced overnight,” he said.
“Those who would like to buy the popular models or colours will have to wait a long time to receive their cars if they wait to purchase a new car in August,” he added.