PETALING JAYA: Car buyers are going for Korean marques because of faster deliveries following reports of production cuts and longer waiting lists for Japanese automobiles due to the quake and tsunami disasters in Japan.
Local assemblers of Japanese cars admit they are starting to feel the pinch from the March 11 tragedies and are waiting with bated breath for leads from their principals in Japan on the next course of action.
Naza Kia Sdn Bhd sales consultant Fiona Kaanmalar said sales of their cars in April increased by 40% compared to the same period last year.
“April is usually a slow month for us but last month was pretty good.
“The Japanese brands are our direct competitors and we are benefiting indirectly from their drop in production,” she said at the Naza Kia showroom in Taman Tun Dr Ismail yesterday.
“Even bankers have said now is the right time for Korean auto brands as the waiting lists for Japanese cars are getting longer – at least a four-month wait,” added Fiona.
However, a Honda representative said sales of their brands for the first quarter had not been affected.
The representative, however, could not comment if the supply of Honda vehicles in Malaysia would be affected by the reduced production as they were still in discussion with the headquarters.
Honda dealer Selangor Global Amity Sdn Bhd said the waiting period for its cars used to be around three weeks but it had now stretched to as long as three months for the locally-assembled City.
Higher-end CKD models, such as the Accord 2.0, however, can still be delivered to customers within a month, said a company spokesman.
He said the Insight, Honda’s popular new hybrid, had a waiting period of six months.
UMW Toyota echoed similar sentiments, saying production slowed down due to limited supply of parts.
It said the temporary measure took effect from April 25 to June 3 as it moved to a one-shift operation.
UMW Toyota president Ismet Suki said: “We are closely monitoring the parts supply situation in Japan and will provide any update or information in a timely manner.”
Toyota sales adviser Charlie Tang said only models imported directly from Japan, such as the Prius, were affected.
“There is great demand for Prius and we only have limited stock. It will at least be a two-month wait if you book one now,” said Tang.
Tang added that vehicles assembled in nearby Thailand were readily available, and could be delivered after three or four weeks.
Housewife Chuah Meng Choo, 50, who was collecting her new car at the Toyota sales centre in Section 14 here, said she had booked her car last week.
“My family and I were surprised that we could collect the car today,” she said.
Edaran Tan Chong Motor said it was business as usual for Nissan in Malaysia.
Executive director Datuk Dr Ang Bon Beng said there was no immediate negative impact to the Nissan business in Malaysia “as we hold inventory, both in CKD and CBU forms”.
“We are carefully monitoring the situation on a daily basis.”
Perodua managing director Datuk Aminar Rashid Salleh is expected to announce tomorrow an update to his April 7 statement that the company was also hit by the calamity.
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