HLIB Research sees strong demand for Proton, Perodua and Toyota new models

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KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 23): HLIB Research has maintained its total industry volume (TIV) forecasts of 596,600 units for 2019, buoyed by strong demand for Proton, Perodua and Toyota new models.

Following Malaysia's 22% year-on-year (y-o-y) drop in car sales in August this year due to the absence of a three-month tax holiday period, HLIB Research anticipates the upcoming months of September till December 2019 to revert to positive year-on-year (y-o-y) growths, due to sales slowdown in these months in the preceding year as consumers frontloaded purchases during the goods and services tax (GST) exemption period.

"We maintain our 2019 TIV forecast at 596,600 units (down 0.35% y-o-y) as we expect sustainable monthly sales volume of 50,000 units for the remaining second half of 2019 (2H19), supported by continued strong demand for new model launches by Proton, Perodua and Toyota," HLIB Research said in a note today.

To recap, the Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) reported that automotive sales in August came to 51,100 units, representing a marginal growth of 0.6% month-on-month (m-o-m) and a 22% y-o-y drop — sales fell for three consecutive months on a yearly basis.

Year to date (YTD), TIV was down by 6% to 398,300 units due to the high base effect of the GST exemption period in June to August 2018.

Among the car producers, Perodua is the only gainer with a 12.7% y-o-y increase in sales at 20,100 units due to Myvi production disruption in August 2018. YTD, Perodua also recorded a marginal increase of 1.9% y-o-y to 161,800 units, outperforming the market's 6% y-o-y drop, mainly driven by the new contribution of Aruz sport-utility vehicle (SUV) model.

Other major car makers showed weakness in sales for August, with Proton car sales at 9,100 units — down 3.9% y-o-y. Honda car sales fell 29.8% y-o-y to 7,600 units, while Toyota dropped 38.4% y-o-y to 5,400 units.

The research house said DRB-Hicom Bhd, which owned 50.1% in Proton, and Bermaz Auto Bhd, which distributes Mazda vehicles, are among its top picks in the automotive sector.

HLIB Research expects Proton's sales momentum to continue as supported by the facelifts of its current models as well as launches of new line-up such as X70 complete-knocked-down (CKD) in 2H19 and X50 in 2020.

Meanwhile, it said Mazda is expecting to launch a facelift version of CX-5 in September, a new CX-8 in October, and CX-30 and CX-3 facelift versions by year-end.