LAST_UPDATEFri, 20 Jul 2018 1pm

Perodua Mulling Developing SUV, Vows To Defend Market Share - CEO

Filepic: KeyAutoFilepic: KeyAutoKUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's largest car maker by volume, Perusahaan Otomobil Kedua, is drawing up a "transformation plan" to defend its market share in the face of rising foreign marques, and is mulling developing a sports utility vehicle to expand its product offering.

The company, commonly known as Perodua, is "seriously considering" developing a SUV for the home market and its variants for exporting, after its market share fell to 35.1% in the first half of the year from 35.3% year-ago, its chief executive Aminar Rashid Salleh said.

The SUV is part of Perodua's long-term development initiative, Aminar told reporters at a news conference in Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysia's automobile market was once dominated by local car-makers Proton and Perodua. However, a deluge of feature-rich foreign vehicles coupled with cheap financing option started to chip away local carmakers' market share.

A sluggish response from Proton and Perodua to roll out new models and expand product portfolio also hurt their sales prospects.

DRB-Hicom, the owner of loss-making Proton, recently sold a 49.9% stake in the national car-maker to China's Zhejiang Geely Holdings Group, which has pledged to introduce new models in the local market.

The rising popularity of foreign-branded cars has hurt Perodua's market share over the last three years, Aminar said.

The company's export volume fell 30% during the January-to-June period due to weaker demand in Indonesia, which accounts for over 60% of its shipments, he said.

"Consumers are still very, very cautious," Aminar added.

Perodua sold 99,700 cars in the first half of this year, up 2.4% on year, while service revenue rose 12.4% to 371 million ringgit ($86.40 million), he said.

UMW Holdings, which owns a 38% stake in Perodua, is the largest shareholder in the company that also counts Japan's Daihatsu Motor Co. as significant shareholder with a 25% stake.

Malaysian auto parts maker MBM Resources owns 20%, state asset manager Permodalan Nasional has a 10% stake in Perodua, while Japanese trading house Mitsui & Co owns the remainder 7%.

Shares of UMW Holdings were last up 0.35% at 5.70 ringgit apiece.

- Nikkei Asian Review