New Car Still An Affordable Luxury For Malaysians, Finds Kenanga

Kenanga also anticipates Perodua to launch its Yaris Cross-based compact crossover sometime in Q1 2024. 

While Malaysia is consistently near the top of the charts for countries with the highest new car prices against income, the prospect of owning a brand new set of wheels is apparently still to be an affordable luxury for most of us living here, according to Kenanga at least. The investment think-tank further asserts for this to be true even in the current economic climate, where the world is experiencing periods of sustained high inflation and a possible slowing of the global economy. 

Kenanga therefore remains optimistic about new car sales for this year, with the research house projecting total industry volume (TIV) of 720,000 units for 2023, matching the 2022 record of 720,658 units. The optimism is underpinned by strong consumer confidence supported by a stable economy and healthy job market, the research house added.

The think-tank however has posted a slightly lower TIV projections for the coming year, with only 710,000 units forecasted for 2024. This slight softening is attributed to the potential implementation of targeted fuel subsidies, which may erode the spending power of the middle 40% income group. 

Automakers however, especially non-national marques, are apparently prepared for this change in consumer demand, states Kenanga, with many of them already beginning the shift from the highly competitive low-margin segment such as 7-seater SUVs, and instead placing their focus on more premium products that will appeal to the middle-income group. The research house cites Honda as an example, with the Japanese automaker replacing their outgoing 7-seat BR-V with the smaller WR-V. A compact crossover that has since secured an impressive 7,300 bookings in just a few months after its official local launch. 

Honda WR-V

A strong local appetite for EVs, courtesy of its current sales tax exemption will also help soften the projected drop in vehicle sales, finds Kenanga. The think-tank forecasts for the industry to be on track in meeting the national target for all-electric and hybrid vehicles (15% of TIV by 2030 and 38% of TIV by 2040), based on the current exponential growth in registrations for the past two years (from 274 units in 2021 to over 3,400 units in 2022 and 7,500 units by September 2023). 

And perhaps in an attempt to spice up their report, Kenanga has also forecasted a few new models that might soon be arriving in Malaysia in the near future. These new launches include the Peugeot e-2008, Kia Sorento, Kia Sportage, Honda CR-V and Nissan Serena. Though perhaps the most intriguing one that was predicted by the research house is the Perodua D66B, which will apparently arrive some time in the first quarter of next year. 

Now to those who are unfamiliar, the D66B is the designation given by Perodua for its new B-segment crossover. Supposedly to be based on the Toyota Yaris Cross, this new product offering by the local automaker is set to sit above the Ativa in its lineup and compete directly against the likes of Honda’s WR-V and even Proton’s X50. 

Joshua Chin

Automotive journalist. Professional work on and Personal writing found at Instagram: @driveeveryday

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