Based on report on Motortrader about car sales up to March 2011, it seems that Proton and Perodua are heading for head to head battle. Upto March, 45,661 unit of Perodua were sold compared to 44,870 for Proton. With less than a thousant units separates these two, this is as close as it can get. This could be due year end and clear-off of 2010 stock, but nevertheless, sales are sales.
Going to model by model, Myvi is still the best-seller followed by Saga. 21,430 unit of Myvi were sold from January to March 2011, while Saga is almost 1000 units less. However, Perodua has two more model in top five, i.e Viva (15846) and Alza (8,378). Proton however, has an ageing Persona in fourth place, selling a solid 12,319 unit in this quarter. Not bad for a run-out, ageing model.
From this top five alone, Perodua sold 44,654 units, 98% of it total sales this quarter. Proton, meanwhile, represented only with two models in top five, only managed 32,774 units, 73 % of its total Q1 volume. Exora failed to make an impression, with only 5,505 units sold in Q1. Even Toyota Vios managed 7,285 units.
As for other Proton model, Inspira is in12th place with 3,428 units, Waja at 25th with 1,226 units, Satria Neo 1060 units at 27th place, Gen 2 shares 38th place with the prestigeous BMW 5-series at 202 units in March, totalling niche-like 466 units for Q1.
It is clear that the battle at the top is still between Myvi, with customers below it are wrestling between Viva and Saga. I think Proton need to re-packaged these segments to better attack Perodua i.e by bringing Saga to more modern pace with better and up to date interior and include state-of-the art drivetrain package for instance CVT transmission to obtain an upper hand, toppling Myvi over (itself at its end of life cycle). A good, compact hatchback ( a properly packaged one, unlike Savvy) could work too, as it seems Malaysian can accept hatchback already.
Below these segment, sub-MPV Alza is battling it out with Persona sedan. I guess this conquer the Rm50-60k segment, where people with family state their preference with either sedan or mini-MPV, both offering similar amount of space. Arrival of new Persona R could further distanced Alza into lower places. Maybe Alza can be repackaged to include an "EX" model, just to slot between Myvi and standard-line Alza, capturing sales from Myvi-Viva-Saga clan.
Exora on the other hand, is without real competitors. It capture such a small market where people in this segment might afford to migrate to Vios/City class and more than willing to sacrifice some practicality.
All in all, lets see how the battle shape up in the next quarter, where the stock clearing activity has finished and without festive season to catalyst the sales.