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At last week’s Malaysian Automotive Institute (MAI) Review and Insight 2014/2015 media briefing, the think-tank revealed our market’s 2014 total industry volume (TIV) of 665,675 units, up 1.5% from 2013’s 655,793.

Not groundbreaking, but the breakdown of who sold how many proved to be more interesting. It was revealed that Proton and Perodua managed 17.4% and 29.4% market share respectively, which amounted to 46.8% of the pie for the national carmakers. This means that local brands accounted for less than half of all cars sold in 2014, and non-national makes now have the lion’s share.

MAI’s figures match those shown at Perodua’s 2014 business review briefing yesterday. The Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) will release official 2014 figures later this month.

As the image below shows, Proton controlled over half of the domestic market back in 2001, and its current 17% share is less than one third of what it used to enjoy. Perodua’s performance over the past decade has been a lot more consistent. Put together, the national carmakers’ share of the market has seen a steady drop over the years, but the point where they surrendered the lead to the non-national makes happened last year.

2014 malaysia market share

Perodua boss Datuk Aminar Rashid Salleh calls this the effect of liberalisation of the Malaysian automotive market, something he has pointed out over the previous few business briefings. “Competition is far more formidable than previously expected,” he said in July 2014.

Non-national segment leaders Toyota, Honda and Nissan have been aggressive in the B-segment, introducing new entry-level models with prices that encroach into the top end of traditional Proton/Perodua territory. Nissan’s Almera in 2012, Toyota’s Vios in 2013 and Honda’s 2014 City and Jazz are prime examples. The latter was the biggest gainer in 2014 with a market share jump of 3.7%.

Will this trend continue? Yes or no hinges on Proton’s performance, as Perodua has decent momentum with the strong-selling Axia and the just-launched Myvi facelift. P2 has set a sales target of 208,000 units this year, which if achieved, will be a record-breaking year for the market leader.

MAI predicts that local brands will make a comeback this year to take around 52% of TIV, which is tipped to reach 700k. Would you be willing to bet on that?