Thursday, September 19

Malaysia’s auto industry off on a positive start

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The automotive industry’s January 2019 TIV rose by 8.7 per cent y-o-y to 48,500 units on improved consumer sentiment, promotions for the Chinese New Year festive celebrations and clearance of 2018 stocks. — Bernama photo

KUCHING: Malaysia’s automotive industry is off on a positive start this year, led by strong numbers recorded by national carmakers.

Analysts expect the industry to continue this strong momentum, underpinned by healthy demand and favourable foreign exchange (forex).

According to the research arm of Affin Hwang Investment Bank Bhd (AffinHwang Capital), the automotive industry’s January 2019 Total Industry Volume (TIV) rose by 8.7 per cent y-o-y to 48,500 units (up 0.5 per cent month-on-month) on improved consumer sentiment, promotions for the Chinese New Year festive celebrations and clearance of 2018 stocks.

It pointed out that Perodua registered higher sales of 20,100 units in January 2019 (up 9.4 per cent m-o-m, up 13.7 per cent y-o-y), accounting for 41.5 per cent of market share.

“With over 8,000 bookings for the all-new Aruz SUV and the popular demand for existing model lineups, we believe Perodua’s prospects remain bright for the next few quarters,” AffinHwang Capital remarked.

Aside from that, Proton’s first month of 2019 (1M19) sales volume climbed to 6,900 units (up 22.6 per cent m-o-m, up 43.5 per cent y-o-y), netting in market share of 14.2 per cent, a commendable improvement from 10.8 per cent in 2018.

“The better sales performance was mainly driven by popular demand of the X70 that was launched on December 12, 2018. Bookings for the X70 has exceeded 15,000 units since the launch on December 12, 2018. Market share for the national carmakers of 55.7 per cent outpaced the non-national carmakers in 1M19 for the first time since the tax holiday period in June 2018,” it highlighted.

Meanwhile, the research arm of MIDF Amanah Investment Bank Bhd (MIDF Research) said: “The trend in January underpins our view of market share shifts driven by the national car offensive with launches of their new/maiden SUV models.”

It also pointed out that Perodua looks on track to hit record TIV – annualised January TIV accounts for 100 per cent of its 2019 forecast and this is only with half a month’s contribution of the Aruz.

As for non-national cars, AffinHwang Capital noted that most non-national carmakers saw a y-o-y decline in sales volume for 1M19.

However, Mazda was the “star performer” in 1M19, clocking in 1,600 units (up 23.5 per cent y-o-y), thanks to the popular demand for the revamped CX-3 and CX-5.

“We learnt that backlog for Mazda vehicles stood at 2,500 units as at end February 2019. Elsewhere, we expect Toyota’s new model line-up (Rush, Camry, Vios, Yaris) will reinvigorate sales volume moving forward,” it added.

All in, AffinHwang Capital maintained its ‘overweight’ rating on the stock as it expected vehicle sales momentum to remain healthy, and strengthening of ringgit to US dollar and Japanese yen to improve profit margins.