Get ready for discerning buyers, car firms told


  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 03 Sep 2003

BY A. LETCHUMANAN

PETALING JAYA: Malaysian automotive firms have been urged to provide higher levels of quality to bring them on par with standards established by the most successful global companies in the industry. 

In making this call, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said consumers would have higher expectations of the goods and services they purchased as society became more mature and affluent. 

General Motors Asia Pacific (vehicle sales, service and marketing) general director Terence B. Johnsson (on right)showing a Chevrolet Optra model to Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi after the launch at Sunway Convention Centre. Looking on is DRB-HICOM chairman Tan Sri Mohd Saleh Sulong.

“They will become more discerning, demanding better value for their ringgit. They are not passive sheep, unquestioningly accepting whatever is provided to them,” he said at the official launch of Chevrolet vehicles in Malaysia at Sunway Convention Centre yesterday. 

Abdullah said that with the increasing breadth of options available, Malaysian consumers would look to other suppliers if they were unhappy with the goods and services received. 

He added that collaboration between local corporations and their multinational counterparts was important as it provided the local firms access to the expertise of their international partners. 

“The capacity of local corporations will be improved and enhanced, allowing them to provide better quality products and services.  

“This is the way to build up competitiveness and survive in an increasingly open and challenging environment,” he said, adding that the Malaysian automotive market was one of the largest within Asean, with sales of 400,000 vehicles projected this year. 

DRB-Hicom's wholly-owned subsidiary Hicomobil Sdn Bhd has been appointed by General Motors to distribute Chevrolet's Aveo, Optra and Lumina sedan models as well as the Nabira multi-purpose vehicle here. 

Abdullah said the arrangement with General Motors involved the import, distribution and marketing of passenger vehicles, accessories and related spare parts. 

“Although there appears to be no manufacturing or assembly process at the initial stage, I believe the transfer of knowledge and expertise can still take place in other relevant areas of business such as sales, marketing and after-sales service,” he said. 

He also urged General Motors to transfer some of its “global best practices” to local companies, including logistic providers, independent car dealership agents and third-party parts distributors.  

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