MAA: Car prices will rise due to ongoing delays

A waiting game: Proton salesman Razak Dahuri standing in an empty showroom at a dealership in Jalan 51a/222, Petaling Jaya. — AZHAR MAHFOF/The Star

PETALING JAYA: The production of new cars will continue to be delayed if the shortage of microchips and components persists, says the Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA).

Its president, Datuk Aishah Ahmad, said the supply chain has also been affected by the Ukraine-Russia conflict.

“Chips and components come from where the cars are being made, so if there is a delay in manufacturing, there will be a delay with delivery.

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“The shortage is also due to an insufficient number of workers at the manufacturing side.

“Industry players are also facing logistics delays. This affects costs, which is why in the long run, it is inevitable that car prices will go up,” she said yesterday.

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MAA reported a drop in new vehicle sales from 73,222 in March to 56,213 units in April, brought about by shortages of microchips and components, as well as shipment delays. This figure also represents a decrease of 3.6% compared with April 2021.

Aishah said an appeal has been made to the Finance Ministry to extend the sales tax exemption.

Proton deputy chief executive officer Roslan Abdullah said its production is gradually getting back on track.

“There is still a shortage of parts, especially chips, in the manufacturing sector, but supplies are steadily increasing so a corresponding reduction in waiting times is also expected.

“The average waiting time for Proton models now is between two and four months depending on the variants. For the X50, the waiting period is about six months,” he added.

Roslan said Proton receives about 25,000 bookings each month, and its most popular model is the Saga followed by the X50.

“Currently, the Saga and X70 have seen a surge in bookings but this was expected as updated versions of each model were recently launched.

“Orders are still being placed for Proton models at a healthy level. Our current average monthly bookings are nearly 25,000 units and our recent announcement regarding delivery dates has had no adverse effect,” he said.

A Mazda showroom in Taman Tun Dr Ismail in Kuala Lumpur was found to be empty as the stock of new cars had yet to arrive.

Senior sales adviser Annison Francis said the situation, which began about three weeks ago, could be due to global supply chain disruptions and the Ukraine-Russia conflict.

“It is also due to the recent lockdown in Shanghai where most of the Japanese car manufacturers import the parts from,” he said.

The supply shortage has also forced customers to wait up to three months or even more, he added.

He said Mazda is also considering absorbing the sales tax if the exemption ends this month.

“I hope the government extends the sales tax exemption,” said Francis.

Honda is also in the same predicament.

“Due to the global shortage of semiconductors and Covid-19 pandemic, there will be a delay in parts and distributions for new car production.

“With this reduction in production output and high market demand for our products, customers who have already placed a booking with our authorised dealers may experience a delay in new car delivery depending on models or variants,” read a statement on its website.

A sales representative at a Perodua dealership in Kuala Lumpur said no matter what model people are buying, the delivery delay cannot be avoided.

“Three months at least, that is how long one has to wait for all models across the board.

“We dare not guarantee anything, because we are bound by the manufacturing side.

“Bookings for cars have been consistent these past few months at the dealership.

“I will say it is still somewhat encouraging for all models like the Myvi, Bezza and Axia, because there is always a demand for them” he added.

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