Why there is no Market Report

Posted on August 31, 2012 at 10:29 pm

It was a surprise to be informed by the secretariat of the Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) that there would not be a summary of vehicle sales and production for the month of July. This is probably the first time that the association has not issued its monthly summary and it has nothing to do with the long Hari Raya break. The reason is that Proton was unwilling to provide their data for the month and as their volumes are among the two largest, a summary would not be meaningful.

Proton’s refusal to supply the data is due to its belief that doing so would be an offence under the Competition Act which came into being at the start of this year. The Act, which is intended to prevent price-fixing (among other things), suggests that sharing of data by car companies is an act of collusion.

Proton is not the first company to stop supplying data as Mercedes-Benz Malaysia and a number of other companies have also done the same over the past 6 months.

Nevertheless, while Proton is not supplying any data at all, the other companies still provide ‘top-level’ data, ie overall sales volumes but not data on sales of individual models, which at least enables tracking of market conditions. It is important that market trends be monitored so that production can be planned and adjusted accordingly; over-supply can lead to serious problems not just for the car companies but also the entire supply chain.

Click here to read about the Competition Act

When asked to comment about this issue earlier, MAA President Datuk Aishah Ahmad said that the matter is being handled by lawyers to obtain exemption from the Malaysian Competition Commission (MyCC). She remarked that statements made by the MyCC regarding the sharing of data as being against the Competition Act were incorrect.

“It was stated by an MyCC official that as a result of such sharing of data, parts prices will go up. I find it hard to understand how parts dealers would use the data and decide that their prices should be raised!” she said. “The MAA is an association, not a cartel,” she stressed, “and we have been compiling sales data from our members and making the data available to all members and subscribers.”

Can sharing of historical sales and production data lead to parts prices going up?

“The data is historical in nature, not forecasts, and it allows every company to have a better idea of market trends. Such information will encourage competition, which is what the Competition Act aims to achieve,” she explained.

Datuk Dr. Ang Bon Beng, a MAA Vice-President and also Executive Director of Edaran Tan Chong Motor added: “By submitting our data to the MAA, we are being transparent and I believe that is how business should be done. If data is not made known, then we would not be transparent and isn’t that wrong?”

“We do not ‘fix’ prices as we are all competitors. If we know that our competitors are doing better than us in a certain segment, then we would find ways to challenge them and that generates competition. So why should the sharing of such data be stopped?” he asked in puzzlement.

Datuk Aishah also said that the MAA had checked with associations in other countries such as the USA, India, Japan and Australia, and found that the data they receive from their members is detailed, just as it has always been in Malaysia until this year. “Bear in mind that these countries implemented a similar Competition Act earlier than Malaysia and they do not have such issues as sharing of historical sales data being an offence,” she said.

Motor Trader has suspended publishing our usual Market Reports as we are also uncertain about the legal position since we obtain the data from the MAA as well. Nevertheless, from the latest data available, we can tell you that the Total Industry Volume (TIV) – minus Proton’s volume – for July was 46,637 units. In June, the TIV was 56,604 units and that included Proton’s numbers.

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By Motor Trader Editorial Team

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Comments

  • Xiax

    Another Act where our MP’s passed/gazetted without thinking things thru or taking into account total implication. Sad to have these, not too clever, bunch representing us !!

    • Chips_MTM

      The law is important to protect consumer interests by ensuring there is fair competition. However, in this case, it is strange that the Competition Commission deems it an offence to share HISTORICAL data because it can lead to parts prices rising. How would that happen?

  • manfurb

    What in the world is happening to our auto industry? No data no fun anymore to visit this site…

    • Chips_MTM

      Not our fault. The Competition Commission is preventing sharing of such data.

  • FONG

    Don’t know how they think. Illegal in the sense of manipulating by using the data, not the data itself. If use the same terminology, knife should not be sold at all.

  • David D

    Cut short, the MyCC’s new chairwoman, Shilla Dorai Raj, has made herself a complete joke in the automotive industry. Tell me, what company doesnt want to disclose sales figures? It’s all about the competition, and the fact that this new chairwoman comes out with all sorts of excuses doesnt hold water at all!

    • Chips_MTM

      Actually, some companies may prefer not to disclose their figures for tactical reasons so there is lack of transparency. Now here is the industry which has, for the past 50 years, been collecting data from its members who are willing to share and be transparent… and they are now being told it is an offence to be transparent in their business!

      I wrote elsewhere that if the MyCC is keen to find matters to investigate on grounds of price-fixing, it should recommend to the government that pricing should not be influenced by any government agency. Market forces control and if a car costs too much, then it will not sell and its price has to come down. Right now, when some companies try to be more competitive and offer a lower price, they suddenly find themselves ‘advised’ to charge more – by a government agency. Then consumers accuse them of making more profits when actually, they are willing to make less to compete. I wonder why the MyCC won’t come down hard on such a practice which prevents true competition.

      • intermilan

        Couldn’t agree more.

  • Crusader

    This is one of our gov tactics to cover up our economy is so bad that car sales has actually suffered drastically.

    • Chips_MTM

      No, it has nothing to do with what you suggest. It is incorrect interpretation of the Act and the wrong idea that the MyCC has because they do not have sufficient insight of how the auto industry works. Transparency is being prevented by the very organisation that should be forcing for it so as to ensure that there is fair competition… ironic, isn’t it?