KUALA LUMPUR: Strong demand for the new Myvi which hit showrooms last month may propel Perusahaan Otomobil Kedua Sdn Bhd (Perodua)back to the top of the vehicle sales chart in Malaysia.
Industry analysts opined that demand for the new Perodua might see the car company regain billing as the top car seller in the country by August or September this year.
“It's expected that they will come back (to top spot) over the next three months,” said Affin Securities Sdn Bhd analyst Chong Lee Len.
Sales of Perodua have been affected by supply disruption caused by the earthquake in Japan and also the phasing out of the old Myvi, a lull which allowed Proton Holdings Bhd to recapture the leadership in auto sales in the first half of the year.
However, more recently, indications that Perodua could be on its way up again was based on the encouraging response it has received since the launch of the new Myvi last month.
Perodua managing director Datuk Aminar Rashid Salleh said the new Myvi has now received 22,000 bookings and that the company was targeting to sell between 8,000 and 8,500 units of the new car a month.
One pleasant surprise was that the bookings for automatic version has been more than planned; currently 90% of the bookings of the Myvi were for the auto version whereas Perodua had planned 70% of production for the auto version and 30% for the manual.
“We need two to three months to adjust production to match demand for the auto from the manual version,” he said.
One benefit from that higher demand for the auto variant is that margins are typically better.
Perodua is also looking to beef up margins with the top-of-the line version of the Myvi drawing the highest demand.
Aminar said the Myvi's Elegance version, which has the highest specifications, was witnessing stronger than expected demand with orders for 4,000 to 4,500 units.
As a result, the waiting list for that variant is between 4 and 5 months while for the others, the waiting list is about two to three months.
Aminar said the company was focussed on selling as many cars as possible.
“We just want to make a value-for-money car for the public,” he said.
The new Myvi has not affected demand for the other makes of Perodua - the Alza and the Viva - but Aminar said amendments to the Hire Purchase Act has led to a 20% to 25% drop in the orders for the Viva.
Bookings for the Viva prior to the Hire Purchase Act stood at 6,000-6,5000 units a month and demand for the Alza is maintained at 2,800-3,000 units a month.
The problem, he said, stemmed from the difficulty of customers to pay the 10% booking fee for the Viva.
In the past, financing packages were structured to ease the burden of people wanting to buy Perodua's entry-level car but changes to the Hire Purchase Act has plugged such practices.
Aminar said talks were underway with banks to find a financial package solution for such buyers.
“We are trying to make the car affordable to the masses and have to come out with a more innovative package,” he said.