Back to regular programming, following the lovely false alarm brought about by what turned out to be an erroneous news report, which said that car prices were set to remain unchanged from September 1, which it won’t be. And so, the window of opportunity continues to close fast on consumers still shopping for a vehicle during the three-month tax holiday period.

Such is the surge in demand that waiting lists for many models are now two to three months long, and many deliveries are expected to occur once the sales and service tax (SST) is reintroduced. Buyers who take delivery of their new cars from September 1 will have to pay more for their car, the Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) said.

Its president Datuk Aishah Ahmad said that any new vehicle delivered and registered after September 1 will have SST imposed, regardless of when the booking for the booking was made. She reiterated what she said in May, that car prices are likely to go up with SST.

“When GST was introduced, prices went down for most car models, so from GST to SST you know for sure that there will be a price increase,” she said, adding that car companies were waiting for details of the new SST mechanism before they can finalise any pricing changes. “Once we know that then we will be able to know the exact amount of the increase,” she explained.

She added that there was no way the industry could produce more units to meet the increased demand or beat the deadline. “When it comes to producing vehicles, there is always a four-month lead time. You need the CKD packs, and the vendors to be able to build them. With zero-rated GST, we only knew about it in May, and there’s no way you can increase and request for production to ramp up or have your vendors do more. So, whatever is in stock and in the pipeline is what we can sell,” she said.

Aishah said concerns regarding the impact of SST is the reason why the association has revised its total industry volume (TIV) forecast of 590,000 units to 585,000 units for the year. She said that the surge in demand from June to August is expected to be offset by slower sales in the final quarter of the year.