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The Malaysian automotive market is certainly one of the more significant markets in Asia Pacific. It is estimated that over 21.25 million vehicles have been registered in Malaysia to date with every 4 in 10 Malaysians owning a vehicle. Uniquely, Malaysia is one of the few countries in Asia Pacific to have its own national car producers, further adding spice and flavour to this market. Malaysia is also one of the few right- hand- drive ( RHD ) markets in the world.
The Top 50 best selling cars in Malaysia for the year of 2011 ( Up until October 2011 )
In relation to the above statements, I decided to task myself with a project in hopes of learning more about the Malaysian automotive market. The details are as follows ;
Primary objective : To study the composition of vehicles by country of origin in the Malaysian automotive market in greater detail.
Featured survey locations :
Timespan : 2nd – 3rd July 2011
Total distance travelled : +- 500 km
Technique and method used : Visual observation ; Vehicles are visually identified from the front passenger seat of a moving car.
- The country of origin for each identified car is noted.
- Popular makes and models are noted.
- Other relevant points of interest are noted.
- Pencil and paper is prepared.
- Assume position at the front passenger seat of the car.
- Driver occupies the driver’s seat.
- Music is turned on to preserve sanity.
- Operation begins when the displacement of the car reaches a minimum of 1/2 kilometres from the starting point.
- Data is recorded.
- Operation ends when the velocity of the car reaches zero and I step out of the front passenger seat.
- Steps 1. to 7. were repeated during ;
- The trip from my home in Subang Jaya to Ipoh ( PLUS Highway is used ).
- My stay in Ipoh.
- The return trip from Ipoh to my home in Subang Jaya ( PLUS Highway is used ).
Data and summary :
Total vehicles surveyed : 5,538
( not including buses, motorcycles, trucks and semis )
Total tallied : 2,654
Car makes : Proton, Perodua*, Naza**, Inokom**, Bufori
* Joint Ventures with Japanese carmakers.
** Rebadges Korean cars.
Malaysian cars make up the biggest majority in the Malaysian automotive market. Every other car on the streets of Malaysia is either a Proton or a Perodua. Malaysian cars are generally functional and affordable people carriers. The very first Malaysian car, the Proton Saga was introduced into the market in 1985. Malaysian cars are protected by the government of Malaysia with the imposition of various taxes on non- Malaysian cars. Unfortunately, Malaysian cars are considered inferior to European and Japanese cars by a large majority of Malaysians. However, newer Malaysian cars such as the Proton Exora and Proton Satria Neo have proven that Malaysia has what it takes to become a major automotive player on the international stage in the near future. Popular Malaysian cars include the Proton Saga, Proton Persona, Perodua MyVi and Perodua Viva.
Total tallied : 2,090
Car makes : Toyota, Honda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Mazda, Suzuki, Subaru, Isuzu, Infiniti, Lexus, Daihatsu, Acura, Hino, Mitsuoka, Scion
Japanese cars are the most popular foreign players on Malaysian soil. The 2 extremely popular models are the Honda City and Toyota Vios. Japanese cars are slightly behind in terms of sales when compared to Malaysian cars. This is due in part to the massive import taxes imposed on foreign cars in Malaysia. However, before the days of Proton and Perodua, Japanese cars ruled the streets of Malaysia. Japanese cars are well known and respected in Malaysia for their reliability and superb build quality. Japanese grey imports are also a common sight in the Malaysia. These cars are not sold officially in Malaysia but are shipped over from Japan. They are perfectly road- legal as both Japan and Malaysia are RHD markets. Examples include the Toyota Alphard and Toyota Estima.
Total tallied : 298
Car makes : Mercedes- Benz, BMW, Audi, Porsche, Volkswagen, Smart, Opel
German cars are the most popular European players in the Malaysian market. Nonetheless, German cars are far less abundant in comparison to Malaysian and Japanese cars in this market. German cars fall victim to the costly taxes which are imposed on cars with high engine displacement in Malaysia. Furthermore, German cars are considered a luxury and are out of reach for the majority of Malaysians. Like Japanese cars, German cars have gained the respect of Malaysians over the years. German cars are popular among the middle income and high income citizens of Malaysia. This explains why new German cars are popular in certain cities such as Kuala Lumpur and Penang but are a rare sight in the less developed parts of Malaysia. Popular cars include the BMW 5- Series, BMW 3- Series, Mercedes- Benz E- Class, Mercedes- Benz C- Class and Volkswagen Golf.
Total tallied : 345
Car makes : Hyundai*, Kia*, Daewoo**, SsangYong
* Many Hyundai and Kia cars are rebadged by Naza and Inokom in Malaysia.
** Daewoo is sold under General Motors Chevrolet.
South Korean cars are relatively new players in the Malaysian market. They make the cheapest alternatives to Malaysian cars but are still nevertheless affected by the import taxes. The last decade has witnessed a significant gain in popularity of Korean cars in the Malaysian automotive market. It is believed that most new Korean cars offer more value for money than rival manufacturers. Although relatively few in numbers today, Korean cars are expected to gain in popularity over the next few years. Popular models include the Kia Forte, Hyundai Elantra and Hyundai Sonata.
Total tallied : 46
Car makes : Peugeot, Citroën, Renault, Bugatti
French cars make up one of the bigger European minorities in Malaysia. French cars are perceived as a luxury by many Malaysians, in similar fashion to German cars. However, French cars are still far less popular than German cars in this market due to the stiff competition from rivals and taxes. Popular cars include the Peugeot 207 and Peugeot 308. At least 3 known Bugatti Veyron hypercars have been sold in Malaysia to date, and one of them is owned by the Sultan of Johore.
Total tallied : 43
Car makes : Chevrolet*, Ford**, Jeep, Hummer, Cadillac, Chrysler, Dodge
* Most Chevrolet cars in Malaysia are JV Daewoos.
** Ford cars in Malaysia are JV Mazdas.
American cars make up a small minority in the Malaysian market. They are present in the form of joint ventures (JV) between American, South Korean and Japanese brands under General Motors. Most American cars that are sold in Malaysia have low engine displacement and differ from American cars sold in the United States. American cars such as the Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro and Chrysler 300C are rare because of various taxes imposed on cars with high engine displacement in this market. However, such American ‘ muscle ‘ cars are nevertheless present in the form of LHD grey imports.
Total tallied : 27
Car makes : Volvo, Saab, Koenigsegg
Swedish cars serve an established niche in Malaysia. They make an appealing alternative to potential German car owners. Swedish cars are highly respected in Malaysia but remain out of reach for the majority of Malaysians due to high import taxes and pricing. However, many older Volvos still cruise Malaysian roads today thanks to their everlasting build quality. New Volvos however are a rare sight outside Kuala Lumpur.
Total tallied : 9
Car makes : Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Fiat, Maserati, Lancia
Italian cars make up a small minority in the Malaysian market. Like Swedish cars, Italian cars in Malaysia are comprised mainly of older models. New models are few and far between. There are also supercars from the likes of Ferrari and Lamborghini in the market. Italian supercars are the supercars of choice and are popular among the elite and upper- class citizens of Malaysia. They are however extremely expensive to own and buy thanks to the unbelievable taxes imposed on such extravagant works of art.
Total tallied : 10
Car makes : Land Rover, Mini*, Mini Cooper, Jaguar, Rolls- Royce*, Lotus, Aston Martin, Bentley*, TVR, MG, Caterham, Vauxhall, Noble, Morgan
* Built and produced by Germans.
British cars also make up a small minority in Malaysia. This is mostly due to the fact that the United Kingdom is lacking in the people’s car area, an area which is dominated by German and Japanese brands. Only Land Rover, Mini, Jaguar, Bentley and Lotus enjoy limited success in the Malaysian automotive market.
Total tallied : 1
Car make : Škoda
Czechoslovakian cars are among the rarest European players in the Malaysian market. Despite being in the market for some time, Škoda has largely been unsuccessful in attracting many customers from the middle and upper- class of Malaysia. This is unfortunate because Škoda offers great cars with advanced German technology at reasonable prices. Factors include the lack of Malaysian awareness, high taxes and the dominance of Japanese and German cars in the market.
Total tallied : 14
Car makes : Chery, Brilliance, Great Wall, Hafei
Chinese cars are a recent entry in the Malaysian market. Chinese cars are infamous for being unsafe, reverse- engineered copies of other cars. As a result, Chinese auto makers choose not to sell their cars outside of their native market. Some of the few exceptions include the Chery Eastar Cross and Brilliance Jinbei, which enjoy limited success in the Malaysian market today.
Total tallied : 1
Car makes : Tata, Mahindra
Indian cars make up one of the smallest minorities in the Malaysian market. The most popular Indian car in Malaysia is the Mahindra Scorpio. Very little is known about the sales of Indian cars in this market. It is however, well known that many old trucks from Tata are still in use on Malaysian roads today.
Other countries which have/ had their cars sold in Malaysia.
Car make : Seat
Spanish grey- imports can be found in Malaysia. However, they are extremely rare and are not successful in the Malaysian market.
Car make : Holden
Australian cars once cruised the streets of Malaysia. Holden attempted to sell their cars in Malaysia in the past but withdrew due to poor sales.
Other points of interest
We have come to our conclusion. We now know the rough composition of vehicles by country of origin in the Malaysian automotive market in greater detail. However, please bear in mind that this is merely an observation/ survey and the actual data and statistics will undoubtedly vary. This is just the tip of the iceberg on a whole different field altogether. There is simply far more to the Malaysian automotive market than one may be able to sum up in words. What about your country’s/ city’s automotive market ? I challenge you to carry out this project with a friend or parent who is able to drive you around your country/ city. I suggest you do a little research on your country’s/ city’s market to gain a better understanding first and foremost. Also, one must be familiar with car models and brands to be able to carry out the project with maximum efficiency. Rest assured that you will gain priceless knowledge in the process. Good luck and thanks for reading this factual article. – Aero
- Various sites for images and photos
- My dad for being an awesome driver