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Local Great Wall Motor assembler Go Automobile Manufacturing (GAM) has announced that it has revised the projected 2015 sales target for its Great Wall M4 SUV. During the introduction of the CKD variants of the M4 back in January, CEO Ahmad Azam Sulaiman had stated that the company was targeting to sell 6,000 units this year.

That number has now revised to 2,600 units, according to a report by The Star‘s business section. Azam told StarBiz that the downward revision was despite the good response the company had received for the SUV – in January, it had said it had obtained 2,500 bookings for the vehicle.

“This year, it took us almost three months to clear our outstanding orders, and currently, all the new orders will take one month to deliver. Year to date, we have sold more than 1,600 units. However, due to the uncertainties within the automotive industry recently, we have reviewed our sales target from 6,000 units to 2,600 units for this year,” he said.

He said that the introduction of the goods and services tax (GST) in April, coupled to the dip in the ringgit’s performance against the US dollar had affected consumer sentiment.

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“We noticed that consumers were adopting a ‘wait-and-see’ approach during the implementation of the GST. Nevertheless, we managed to convince consumers that our product pricing would not increase compared to other brands. Unfortunately, almost immediately after the implementation of the GST, the currency exchange rate started to become unfavourable for the ringgit, regardless of whether we traded in US dollar or yuan,” he explained.

Production of the M4 began in December 2014 at GAM’s plant in Gurun, which had been assembling the Haval H5 and Wingle pickup. First previewed in left-hand drive form in January last year, the M4 was initially launched in its fully-imported form in July. In August, on-the-road pricing was revealed, with six variants of the SUV going on sale.

The locally-assembled versions of the SUV were officially introduced in January, with a five-speed manual and six-speed manual transmission with automated clutch operation (the Getrag 6AMT160) being available.

The front-wheel drive M4 is powered by a normally-aspirated 1.5 litre VVT MPI four-pot offering 105 hp at 6,000 rpm and 138 Nm at 4,200 rpm. The current pricing for the M4 ranges from RM48,138 for the 1.5 Standard MT to RM60,800 for the 1.5 Premium AMT, on-the-road without insurance.

Heading into 2016, Azam said that there will be challenges for the auto sector.“Based on the previous economic crisis, it took more than 24 months to recover. However, our economy is much more resilient now compared with previously.”

“Nevertheless, the challenges are still there due to some other parameters that are beyond our control, such as the movements of currencies and commodities. Therefore, we hope that the next 12 months should show some rapid performance recovery. Nonetheless, we are already embarking aggressively on cost-reduction activities for a few months on improving efficiency of our operations and processes,” he told the publication.