Perodua Bezza to drive auto sales, B10 biodiesel use still up in the air

By THE STAR | 21 July 2016

SUBANG JAYA: The Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) expects vehicle sales in the second half of 2016 to surpass that of the first six months of this year, driven by new models such as the Perodua Bezza, which will be launched later today.

MAA president Datuk Aishah Ahmad said sales in the second half of the year should account for about 53% of total industry volume (TIV) for 2016.

“Introduction of new models, like the Bezza, will boost vehicle sales,” she said during a review of vehicle sales for the first half of 2016 yesterday.

“The Bezza model will be well received. The Proton Perdana, which was launched recently, was also received well, but it’s more on the upper-end segment so sales will not be so high.”

The Bezza is priced competitively between RM37,000 and RM51,000. Perodua is reported to be targeting initial sales of 10,000 units per month within the first three months of the launch.

Meanwhile, the MAA has revised its 2016 TIV forecast downwards to 580,000 units from 650,000 units initially, due to lower vehicle sales in the first half of this year, which plunged to 275,459 units from 322,254 units in the first six months of 2015. A total of 244,357 units of passenger vehicles were sold in the first half of 2016, compared with 286,608 units in the previous corresponding period.

Sales of commercial vehicles meanwhile dropped to 31,102 units in the first six months of 2016, compared with 35,646 units a year earlier. In January, the MAA had projected a drop in TIV by 2.5% from 666,674 in 2015 to 650,000 this year.

Aishah said the contraction was due to the volatility in the global economy, which in turn had affected consumer sentiment. She however said Bank Negara’s recent decision to cut the benchmark overnight policy rate (OPR) to 3% from 3.25% previously may help to stimulate domestic spending.

“The OPR will help. But the new hire purchase rates have not been announced yet,” she said.

On the upgrading of the B7 (petroleum diesel blend consisting of 7% palm methyl ester) to the B10 (10% palm methyl ester) biodiesel blend, Aishah said that local players are not ready for this transition and need more time.

“We had a meeting with the Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities yesterday (Tuesday). The Government was initially supposed to implement it on June 1, then July 1.

Earlier, the Government announced June 1 (for implementation), but then they delayed it to July 1. So far, no date has been set because they are still listening to the stakeholders,” she said.

Aishah said that the main concern for the MAA was that its principals were unable to provide a warranty for vehicles if B10 biodiesel was implemented. She added that the association has suggested that the Government provide stations that have both B7 and B10 diesel at the fuel pumps.