Mr. Kavan Mukhtyar, Partner & Head of the Automotive & Transportation Practice, Asia Pacific at Frost & Sullivan said that Frost & Sullivan is maintaining its forecast as it is still achievable despite the stricter lending guidelines by Bank Negara Malaysia.
He added that the stricter lending rules mostly impacted entry-level vehicles such as Perodua Viva and Proton Saga. "However, the impact is expected to be reduced as automakers step up marketing and sales campaigns such as giving higher discounts and implementing pre-screening approval process for hire purchase loans to entice consumers," he said.
He added that the rejection rate for loan applications for new vehicles has reduced since May 2012 as dealers and banks are getting used to the stricter lending guidelines, and are working together to shorten the process and makes it easier for consumers.
Mr. Mukhtyar also said that hybrid cars will continue to be in demand due to attractive incentives given by the Government. He also expects the upcoming review of the National Automotive Policy to provide more incentives for hybrid cars.
He said that the D-segment (premium & large sedans) will be the fastest growing segment, increasing 30 per cent year-on-year to 36,058 units in 2012, driven by catch-up sales from the new Toyota Camry and Honda Accord, new variant launches and high demand for luxury cars such as BMW and Mercedes Benz.
Mr. Mukhtyar said that the C-segment (mid-sized sedans) is likely to grow 5 per cent year-on-year to 234,482 units in 2012, making it the largest contributor to the total vehicle sales in Malaysia, accounting for about 38.3 per cent.
He added that growth in the C-segment will be driven by new models such as Proton Preve, Peugeot 408, Honda City FL, Honda Civic FMC and Volkswagen Polo Sedan. "Increasing demand for hybrid vehicles such as Honda Insight FL and Toyota Prius FL will also help to drive growth in the segment," said Mr. Mukhtyar.
Sales for sports utility vehicles (SUVs) and 4x4 vehicles are likely to grow 11 per cent year-on-year to 25,699 units due to back orders and recovery sales from Honda CRV and growth in Kia Sportage and new model such as Mazda CX-5.
Mr. Mukhtyar said that the B-segment (small & compact cars) is likely to see a nominal growth of 0.3 per cent year-on-year to 98,792 units in 2012 due to the robust sales of the new 1.5L Perodua Myvi and introduction of hybrid cars such as Toyota Prius C and Honda Jazz.
The A-segment will see a dip and is expected to decline 12 per cent year-on-year to 57,376 units, mainly impacted by the stricter lending guidelines and lack of new models. "Most consumers are likely to opt for B-segment vehicles especially entry-level cars such as Perodua Myvi due to the narrow price gap," Mr. Mukhtyar said.
In the commercial vehicle segment, sales of pick-up trucks are expected to increase 6 per cent year-on-year to 46,478 units, mainly driven by robust sales from market leader Toyota Hilux and supported by new entrant models such as Chevrolet Colorado and the new Ford Ranger.
However, sales of trucks are likely to decline 5 per cent year-on-year to 15,000 units in 2012 due to a lack of new models.
Other commercial vehicles such as buses, vans and prime movers are expected to grow 2 per cent year-on-year to 10,876 units in 2012, supported by the new panel van Nissan NV200 Vanette as well as growth from Daihatsu Gran Max and Nissan Urvan.
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