Proton, Perodua to drive SUV sales in Malaysia — Analysts

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KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 27): The introduction of Proton's new sport utility vehicle (SUV) X70, and the upcoming Perodua SUV could double the SUV segment market share in Malaysia next year, an analyst said.

Automotive analyst and automotive news portal editor Shamsul Yunos said this could help to lift SUV sales in the country which currently lags behind the global average.

“The SUV segment in Malaysia stands at about 15 per cent of the total industry volume (TIV) compared with a global average of 30 per cent. It goes as high as 40 per cent in some markets.

“Malaysian manufacturers and other brand owners are realising this potential for growth and look set to introduce or have introduced products to feed the potential market demand for SUVs,” he told Bernama.

He said the segment was also expected to be the fastest growing segment next year.

Shamsul is also optimistic that both Proton and Perodua SUVs would open up new markets for SUV more than they cannibalise sedan car sales.

Another analyst, who wanted to remain anonymous, said the new Perodua SUV could take the spotlight given that the price range is expected to be lower than Toyota Rush and X70.

“Proton X70 is still completely built-up and limited to a certain number (of imports), especially with that hefty price range despite the advanced technology,” he said.

However, MIDF Amanah Investment Bank, in a research note, said the X70 offerings and attractive price could likely help the SUV to take market share from Honda HR-V and, to a certain extent, the Mazda CX3.

Proton Edar chief executive officer Datuk Rashid Musa said to-date, the X70 had received more than 15,000 bookings with the Premium 2-wheel drive, the model's highest spec variant, being the most sought-after and making up more than 60 per cent of the model's sales.

According to industry talk, Perodua's SUV is expected to be launched in the first quarter of next year.

Going into 2019, the analyst expects the TIV to maintain at about 590,000 units as forecast for this year, supported by new launches, including the all-new Toyota Vios and all-new Toyota Yaris Hatchback, as well as new models from Honda, Mazda and Nissan.

MIDF said Proton was also scheduled to introduce the completely-knocked-down (CKD) version of X70 next year.

Shamsul said the country’s automotive industry was also expected to maintain the number of launches of between 40 and 60 new and facelift models next year.

“We typically get anything between 40 and 60 new and facelift models in a year. There is no reason why that number should fall significantly next year,” he said.

Shamsul said even without the tax holiday enjoyed in 2018, the industry would continue to grow next year as long as competitive pricing and new models entice the market.