Saturday, February 11, 2012

Carmakers expect slower sales

Perusahaan Otomobil Kedua Sdn Bhd, for example, has seen its registration rate dropping by up to 20 per cent last month.

The more stringent financing conditions had lead to a five per cent sales orders decline for Perodua vehicles during the month, said its managing director Datuk Aminar Rashid Salleh.

Analysts said more vehicle loan applications were rejected than before after Bank Negara Malaysia tightened the hire-purchase (HP) approval process and other credit controls.

Under the new guidelines, banks are now required to assess loan applications based on net income instead of gross income of borrowers.

Analysts estimated that 70 per cent of the HP loan applications had been rejected since the new ruling came into force.

MIDF Research said the move was more likely to affect consumers within the low-middle income bracket. 

In terms of vehicle makes, it felt that mid-range Japanese and South Korean models could be the hardest hit. 

It also expected second-hand vehicle prices to fall as sellers would offer discounts, given the stricter credit financing conditions.

Aminar Rashid, who spoke to reporters at Perodua's Chinese New Year luncheon yesterday, said he hoped the government would introduce a new mechanism to address the loan issue.

Perodua, he said, was expecting a tougher 2012 after selling 180,000 units last year, which were 8,000 units off its target of 188,000 units.

Still, the second national carmaker was able to maintain its position as the country's top-selling car company for the sixth consecutive year.

Perodua has a 30 per cent market share against the 26.4 per cent by Proton Holdings Bhd.

Total new car sales in December eased 12.9 per cent year-on-year and two per cent month-on-month to 47,708 units, although this was largely due to the flood in Thailand and seasonal factors.

The Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) had expected sales to slightly improve last month, given the ongoing promotional campaigns and the rush to deliver new vehicles ahead of the Chinese New Year holidays.

The January sales figures will be released by MAA in the middle of February.

MIDF Research has maintained its 2012 total industry volume (TIV) forecast of 611,140 units, which is lower than MAA's two per cent growth to 615,000 units, due to the more severe repercussion of the tighter credit conditions.

Last year, the TIV declined 0.8 per cent to 600,123 units.

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