Smoother ride for auto industry in 2010


KUALA LUMPUR: The local automotive industry is expected to see a smooth racetrack ahead in 2010, reversing this year’s slowdown that resulted from the global economic turmoil.

The vroom factors include better economic growth, new model launches, strong consumer confidence, im­proving access to fi­nancing and a more favourable pricing environment.

The Malaysian economy is expected to grow between four and five per cent in 2010, barring unforeseen circum­stances.

“Based on the encou­ra­ging sales figure in Novem­ber, car sales are set to continue gaining momen­tum in the new year,” Malaysian Auto­motive Association presi­dent Datuk Aishah Ahmad told Bernama.

In November, 2009, total vehicle sales were 45,200 units, up 11 per cent from 40,865 units in the same month last year as market conditions improved.

Aishah said the revised National Automotive Policy (NAP) was expected to give the industry a boost as the policy would ensure a long-term viability and compe­titiveness of the automotive industry.

However, the industry might take some time to warm up before shifting to an upper gear, she said.

OSK Research motor analyst Ahmad Maghfur Usman said the NAP could transform the local automo­tive industry into a regional hub over the longer term with giveaways such as corporate tax holidays and tax exemption on exported goods to lure global original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).

“While the incentives will benefit the industry overall, we see Proton as a clear winner given that ample capacity at its Shah Alam plant can potentially be taken up by global OEMs,” he said.

He said the government was trying to attract European carmakers following the recent relaxa­tion on equity conditions for manufac­turers in the luxury passen­ger car segment.

“This fortifies our view that a partnership between Proton and Volkswagen is bound to materialise any­time soon,” Ahmad Maghfur said.

“We are optimistic of the longer term prospects of the industry going forward,” he said, adding that total industry volume (TIV) would grow by 3.7 per cent next year from 500,000 units