Some of you may have noticed there has been some kind of shift in the prices of import marques in Malaysia, and also the way they are brought in – whether CKD or CBU. We now have CBU Japan imports at never before seen prices: the Mitsubishi Lancer GT and the Suzuki Vitara comes to mind.
Something that’s quite the opposite has been happening with the Korean makes here in Malaysia. Kia cars in Malaysia have classically been CBU models with only the Kia Spectra being a CKD model. Let’s not count the Naza-badged CKD models. Recently for the first time in a very long time, two new Kia models never seen before in the Malaysian market have been launched as a locally assembled CKD models.
Things are definitely changing somewhere in the tax department when it comes to cars. Excise exemptions? Free trade agreements? Industrial adjustment fund? These are the few possibilities that could be the catalysts for these changes with how import marques are sold here in Malaysia.
Back in July 2007, we also saw MITI take a step which many saw as a step backwards in the Malaysian automotive industry – allowing Open AP holders to import any car they want. Previously, Open AP holders could import any cars they wanted except for models that have been assigned to the franchise AP holders. Now you can see grey importers like Naza World bringing in the Honda Stream.
How has this affected Honda Malaysia’s own marketing plans in Malaysia in regards to the Honda Stream? I am sure they have planned to introduce it sooner or later. Honda Malaysia has invested so much here in Malaysia – an assembly plant in Malacca which even does some good for the economy by bringing in some money into the country by exporting CV joints.
To see it in a positive light, perhaps it is good that this grey import Stream has been given such a ridiculously high price tag – it could increase market perception of the Stream’s value and if Honda Malaysia gets around to introducing it with a lower price tag, it could have a positive effect.
Despite used car imports now being limited to 3% of the total market volume, grey importers can definitely damage the hard work that principals have been putting into their product plans. I cannot figure out these strange policies set by MITI which seemingly punish foreign investors who have poured money into our automotive industry. We are already losing out on so much to our neighbours.