Honda Sales Thrive In Sluggish Malaysian Market

Dealers all around Malaysia have expressed concern since July 2023 at the significant sales slowdown in the local market. This development belies the fact that the Malaysia Automotive Association’s data indicated that August and October were two of the company’s best months ever for 2023.

But those numbers are orders that were fulfilled months ago, so they don’t represent demand today. Of all car brands, Honda was the only one to record a positive result in sales.

According to RHB Research, a steep 14% fall in 2024’s total industry volume, down from the forecasted 725,000 units for 2023 to 625,000.

Sales figures for the previous two years have been artificially inflating due to post-Covid economic stimulus programmes that exempted locally built passenger cars from sales tax. This resulted is the majority of customers bringing their purchases forward.

The market will therefore right itself in 2024. November’s sales of 71,900 units were 4% lower than those of the previous month, and this came after a 6% decline from September’s 68,156 units.

Despite November being a usually strong month as dealers make a final push to meet their yearly sales targets, almost all major brands reported a decline in sales.

Proton dropped 2.5 percent, Perodua fell by 5.3 percent, Toyota (including Lexus) decreased by 6.1 percent (10,263 units), while Mazda plummeted 12.5 percent to 1,534 units.

With a 10 percent increase and 8,043 units registered—23 percent more than in the same month in 2022—only Honda showed positive growth. With 72,591 cumulative sales so far this year, Honda Malaysia is on pace to clear its 80,000 unit goal for the year.

The Japanese brand enjoyed this strong result despite the fact that it was introducing the new generation CR-V crossover that was only recently launched on December 14th. So, as it turned out, Honda did not actually have any CR-Vs available for purchase that month. 

The new model has two engine options: a 1.5-liter 4-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine with 193 horsepower and a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder i-VTEC petrol engine with 148 horsepower. Both engines are mated to a CVT gearbox, and the ‘V’ model offers all-wheel drive.

OUR THOUGHTS

Although sales results have been sluggish for most carmakers in 2023, we can expect an upturn in 2024 as new models land in showrooms — like new cars from BYD, Hyundai, Proton and Toyota—to stimulate the market. And as more customers finally get access to the new CR-V, we should see sales at Honda rising too.

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