No Impact Yet On Cars Orders, Says UMW Toyota
UMW Toyota Motor Sdn Bhd, the assembler and distributor of Toyota vehicles in Malaysia, has not experienced any slackening in orders for its Toyota vehicles.
UMW Toyota Motor’s executive director Aminar Rashid Salleh said despite the growing concern over inflation, the company’s showrooms were still getting enquiries from potential customers, especially on vehicles with lower capacity engines.
“So far, we have not seen what can be called an impact on orders. Having said that, I have to admit that the last few days in terms of enquiries from customers seemed to be more on vehicles with lower capacity engines,” he said after launching the Toyota Eco Rangers programme here Wednesday.
He also said that Toyota vehicles were able to meet the needs of customers as most of them were equipped with the VVT-i (Variable Valve Timing with intelligence) engine technology, where its strength was in fuel efficiency.
Aminar, however, declined to comment whether vehicle sales would be affected by inflationary pressures.
The current best-selling Toyota models are passenger car Vios, with average sales of 2,800 to 3,000 units per month, and the multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) Avanza, with average sales of 2,000 units a month.
The company, however, would be monitoring the situation closely and was adopting a prudent stance, he added.
“It is too early to comment but definitely an increase in inflation will impact everybody. Not just the automotive industry but also the economy as a whole,” he said.
Aminar said the country’s automotive industry had been recording healthy orders in the past five months.
“Almost all players have registered good orders and good sales. These orders may carry them over the next few months,” he said.
In terms of total industry volume, the first five months of 2008 was better that the same period last year with a growth of between 30 and 40 percent, Aminar said.
“It has been very good. The challenge is whether we can continue with this momentum and I believe some players will also be introducing new models,” he said.
“We have introduced a few new models in the early part of this year. We are still getting good orders for these models,” he added.
On hybrid cars, Aminar said UMW Toyota Motor would be submitting a proposal to the government to make hybrid cars commercially available locally, adding that the company had brought in two hybrid cars for evaluation.
“Hybrid technology is not cheap but we would like hybrid cars to be affordable so that more people will be able to buy. We are still at the discussion stage with the government and hope to see a positive response,” he said.