Perodua Sentral PJ 9

Perodua is on course to achieve its 2015 sales target of 208,000 units, which if successful, will be the brand’s best ever performance in a calendar year. Should Perodua hit the mark come year end, it would have also maintained its market leading position, comfortably.

Announced in January and maintained through the GST introduction period as well as Malaysia’s less than rosy current economic sentiment, 208k is 6% more than the 195,600 units the company managed last year. P2’s previous sales record was 196,100, achieved in 2013.

Perodua’s president and CEO Datuk Aminar Rashid Salleh told paultan.org at the sidelines of the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show that he is “cautiously optimistic” that the target will be achieved. This is despite September being the worst month for P2 sales this year, at around 14,500 units. Aminar said that October’s performance should normalise to around 17,000 to 17,500 units.

January to September 2015 sales stood at 157,257 units, which is a substantial 12% more than the 140,317 units recorded in the same period last year.

Unsurprisingly, it’s the Axia that is carrying the flame. Perodua’s latest entry-level model, introduced last September, recorded sales of 76,107 units till September, overtaking the now facelifted Myvi (52,560 units, 65,245 last year) and Alza MPV (28,841 units, 43,014 last year), both of which have seen sales decline. The Rawang-based carmaker expects to sell 105k Axias in 2015.

More cheer in the other departments too, as service revenue is up 8% and revenue from parts is up 5%.

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The company appears to be immune to the current troubles of the auto industry in Malaysia, but the ever-careful Aminar warned of choppy seas ahead. The ringgit is Asia’s worst performing currency this year, and rising costs are affecting most players; top two foreign brands Toyota and Honda have announced that prices will go up in 2016 and it wouldn’t be surprising if others follow suit.

On the possibility of Perodua doing the same, Aminar said: “We are studying the situation very very closely. I have to admit that our cost has gone up, and vendors have raised their hands at us too. We would like to avoid it [price hikes] if possible. If we come to a point where it’s too difficult to absorb, we’ll have to make a decision.”

He also explained that the Axia G’s RM990 price increase from October 1 was merely an expiry of the introductory price and not a forex effect. If the ringgit’s performance against major currencies was the factor, the price increase wouldn’t be just for one single variant.

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Last month, Tan Sri Asmat Kamaludin, group chairman of Perodua stakeholder UMW Holdings, said that costs have increased for imported cars and components, but current car prices will be held for as long the car companies can take it due to the market being very competitive.

“We have been impacted. To give you figures, it’s 2 to 3% of our bottom line [profit before tax] two to three months ago; now it’s 5%,” he said then. The ringgit most recently closed at 4.2875 to the greenback and 3.5535 to the Japanese yen, the two currencies Perodua trade in.