Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Malaysian car prices to drop gradually?

Revised NAP likely to include policy to reduce car prices over next 3-4 years

PETALING JAYA: The revised National Automotive Policy (NAP) will include a policy that will address the gradual reduction of car prices in the country, said an industry source.

What happens to second-hand cars? Naza Group of Companies joint executive chairman SM Nasarudin SM Nasimuddin was quoted in a recent report as saying: if prices dropped, the resale value of a car would then plummet but the loan amount owed to banks (on cars already bought) would be unchanged.

The Government, through the Malaysia Automotive Institute (MAI), had engaged us in the past few months to discuss on the matter,” he told StarBiz.

“There will be a policy that will tackle the gradual reduction of car prices in Malaysia. Details of this policy are expected to be made public in the near future,” he added.

The source said the policy would outline a structure to gradually reduce car prices over the next three to four years.

The Government has been considering it (the reduction of car prices) in the revised NAP and it was only a matter of time for this issue to be addressed,” said the industry source.

It is a known fact that the prices of cars are high in Malaysia compared with Thailand.

However, it has been argued that the cost of vehicle ownership in Malaysia is still among the most competitive in the Asean region, primarily due to the subsidised fuel prices, cheaper road tax and insurance premiums.

In a recent news report, MAI chief executive officer Madani Sahari was quoted as saying that Malaysia had the second lowest cost of vehicle ownership in the region after the Philippines.

According to him, the cost of vehicle ownership in Malaysia, compared to Thailand and Indonesia, was lower by 39% and 12% respectively.

In terms of petrol prices, Thailand was the highest, followed by Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines, Madani said in the news report.

Meanwhile, on the point of car prices being slashed overnight via the reduction of vehicle excise duties, industry observers argue that the impact would be negative for existing buyers rather than first-time ones.

“If you're a first-time buyer, it would be like a dream come true as it means you can now afford to buy a car that was too expensive previously,” said one industry observer who requested anonymity.

“For the existing buyer, it would mean that the resale value of the car would have diminished overnight,” he added.

It is also argued that the sudden drop in vehicle prices would have a severe impact on second-hand car dealers.

Those servicing existing car loans will also be severely affected.

In a local news report recently, Naza Group of Companies joint executive chairman SM Nasarudin SM Nasimuddin was quoted as saying that if taxes were scrapped, consumers would have to overpay bank loans taken for their vehicles.

In the report, Nasarudin claimed that if prices dropped, the resale value of a car would then plummet but the loan amount owed to banks would be unchanged.

By EUGENE MAHALINGAM  eugenicz@thestar.com.my/Asia News Network 

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