Naza was the best-performing brand and overtook Honda and Nissan for No. 4 position, thanks to new models like the Sutera

In the final tally of Malaysian motor vehicle sales for the whole of 2006, Naza emerged as the best-performing brand in the market even though it was not No.1. While the total industry volume of 490,768 units was down 11% from that of 2005 (552,316 units), Naza?s sales went the opposite way: 60% increase in passenger car sales, 27% in commercial vehicles and an amazing 951% in 4×4 SUV sales. Considering that the home-grown brand is still a ?youngster? in the industry, the achievement is certainly impressive.

Naza?s big increases in sales were largely due to the two new models launched in the entry-level segment, the Sutera and Bestari. The Kia-based Sorento made a big impact because of its price which was comparable to the other small SUVs and over 2,000 units were sold during the year.

The results for 2006 were announced today during the annual press conference of the Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA). It was certainly a ‘roller-coaster’ bad year for the industry which, instead of seeing sales grow after the National Automotive Policy (NAP) was announced in March and tariffs lowered, saw sales slowing down.

?The main factors were the stringent conditions in approving H-P loans and the fact that many people still could not accept that the resale values of their vehicles were really lower than what they wanted,? said Datuk Aishah Ahmad, the MAA president.

Perodua finished the year as No. 1, not surprising with over 80,000 units of the Myvi sold or one out of every five new passenger cars

Toyota maintained its No. 3 position as well as market share of around 17% even though its sales volume was lower

It was not surprising that Perodua was No. 1 in 2006 since it had overtaken Proton during the first half of the year. With total sales of 155,419 units, Perodua took 31.7% of the market while Proton?s 115,706 units accounted for 23.6%. Perodua?s ascent was due to none other than the market success of the Myvi:? 80327 units were sold in 2006 which works out to one out of every five new passenger cars sold.

Third again was Toyota which sold 81,808 units, down 9,195 units from 2005. However, the Toyota market share was maintained at just under 17%.

Naza?s positive movement in all segments saw it rise up the Top Ten chart to take No. 4 position, zooming by Honda and Nissan. Naza?s total volume was 31,763 units, a big leap from 17,665 units in 2005 and its share grew to 6.5% (3.2% in 2005).

Though Honda slipped one position down after recording 26,527 units in 2006 (27,457 units in 2005), its market share was actually very slightly higher (5.4% against 5.0% a year earlier). Nissan sales dropped to 22,578 units from 26,724 units.

Inokom, though staying at No. 7 position, saw a big decline in sales to 6,776 units from 13,947 units, an unusual downturn for a brand which has most of its products at competitive entry-level prices. Hyundai, coincidentally Inokom?s technical partner, also experienced a major decline in sales ? 5,413 units from 12,784 units in 2005.

A surprise entrant in the Top Ten in 2006 was Daihatsu at No.9. No longer selling any passenger car models (its Charade was once a hot-seller), it has depended on sales of light commercial vehicles and has been dominant in the segment. Many pasar malam businesses use Daihatsu pick-ups and vans and last year, the company sold 5,333 units to take a 1.1% overall share.

Passenger cars sales totalled 366,738 units, a great contrast to the 416,692 units sold in 2005. The national brands (combined)? continued to take the biggest share of 77% in this segment, 1% less than in 2005. While Proton?s volume fell by 30% to 115,538 units, Perodua?s rose by 14% to 152,733 units to be the best-selling brand in the nation.

In the commercial vehicle (CV) segment, there was a 7.6% decline in volume to 90,471 units, while for the 4×4 segment, there was a decline of 11.3% to 33,559 units. In both the CV and 4×4 the segment, Toyota was the leader by far (43.2% in CV, 39.5% in 4×4) with products such as the Avanza, Innova, Fortuner and Hilux. Perodua, once the leader in the 4×4 segment with its Kembara has slid downwards in this segment in recent years as the model has aged. Though the Triton arrived too late to make an impact in 2006 numbers, Mitsubishi still grabbed 6.7% market share with 2,248 units sold. Naza was a newcomer to this segment?s Top Ten list with the Sorento which accounted for 6.2% of total 4×4 sales. Isuzu?s D-MAX also deserves mention as its sales jumped from 437 units in 2005 to 1,938 units in 2006.

It should be noted that the CV includes models such as the Naza Ria and Toyota Avanza/Innova so it is not just purely vehicles for commercial applications. Datuk Aishah said that from 2007, the MAA?s analysis will be revised and that passenger car and 4×4 segments will be combined. This is because the duties for both segments are now the same.

?The MAA will also no longer differentiate between national and non-national brands in its reports from this year onwards. We feel that with the incentives for national brands being almost removed, the ?playing field? is now almost level so we can discontinue the differentiation,? she explained.

Among the luxury makes, Mercedes-Benz again finished just ahead of BMW ? 3,327 units against 3,288 units. BMW, however, sold almost 4 times more SUVs than Mercedes-Benz.

As for the China makes, Alado sold 152 units of its Chery A160 and QQ models? while Dong Feng sold 337 trucks. Of course, if you consider the Naza Sutera as being also in this category, then it would be No.1 as 6,067 units were sold.

Month-by-month sales in 2006

Market trends in past 10 years

On the performance of the market in 2006, she said that it was something that did not surprise MAA members considering how sales had slowed down, especially in the fourth quarter. ?I suppose the consolation is that the decline we experienced in Malaysia was not isolated in the region. Other than Singapore and the Philippines, the other ASEAN countries saw declines as well,? she said.

At this time, the MAA has not received the December sales data from Thailand and Indonesia but up till November, Indonesia?s decline was 43% while Thailand?s was 4%. Datuk Aishah said that the conditions in the other countries which led to such declines were similar to Malaysia?s and rising fuel costs were also quite influential in dampening sales.

Looking ahead, the MAA has made a cautious forecast for 2007 which sees a 1.9% increase in total volume to 500,000 units. Passenger car + 4.4 sales are expected to be around 409,000 units (2.2% growth) ?while commercial vehicles are expected to be 91,000 units( 0.6% growth). As in previous years, the MAA will consider the performance during the first six months and offer a revised forecast in July.

The forecast is more conservative than that of Frost & Sullivan which has forecast a 3.8% growth in 2007 with a total industry volume of over 500,000 units. However, the company had anticipated 2006 volume to be 487,500 units.

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