By on September 1, 2012

Uh-oh: Our colleagues and fellow market watchers in Malaysia were waiting and waiting for market data for the month of July, but none arrived. With August about to end, they stared to ask questions. They were told there won’t be any data. No, it wasn’t because Malaysia suddenly is like Europe. In the Old Country, July data traditionally are supplied in September,because Europe is on vacation in August.

No, it was because Proton suddenly refused to supply its data.

Without Proton, one of Malaysia’s two sizable automakers, the statistics would be for the birds, reasoned the Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA), and called the whole report off. Proton had a surprising excuse for not submitting its sales count. Reports Malaysia’s Motor Trader:

“Proton’s refusal to supply the data is due to its belief that doing so would be an offence under the Competition Act which came into being at the start of this year. The Act, which is intended to prevent price-fixing (among other things), suggests that sharing of data by car companies is an act of collusion.”

Other car companies also curtailed their reporting over the last 6 month, but they still provide ‘top-level’ data, i.e. overall sales volumes but not data on sales of individual models.

Nasty observers could be inclined to think that troubled Proton has something to hide.

Tip of the songkok to Polar Bear

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5 Comments on “Proton Boycotts Sales Data, Says It’s The Law...”

  • avatar
    Polar Bear

    Full disclosure: I am a European living in Malaysia.

    Let’s run the conspiracy theories.

    1. Proton launched its first “global car”‘, the 1.6 liter Proton Preve, in April. The Preve was supposed to be competitive with the big names and restore Proton’s falling market share (from 80% to 25%). Sales were expected to be 4,000 cars a month. Despite the media fanfare, the first full month the Preve sold under 2800. I haven’t heard much about it since. Coincidence?

    2. After 30 years of trying, the Malaysian government has realised Proton will never be the new Toyota, the national pride and export success it was meant to be, and is preparing to let Proton swim or sink without any more help from taxpayers. Removing sales numbers from public view could be politically smart as Proton discovers if Malaysians still want to buy Protons when Japanese cars cost the same or less.

    3. The Malaysian government just happens to lack finesse in writing competition laws.

  • avatar
    Polar Bear

    Reading the fine print of what the Malaysians says: “Total Industry Volume (TIV) – minus Proton’s volume – for July was 46,637 units. In June, the TIV was 56,604 units and that included Proton’s numbers.”

    Assuming Proton’s volume was the same in July (which is probably not accurate but good enough for an estimate) Proton’s share is 56,604 minus 46,637 = 9,967

    9,973 of a total market of 56,604 gives Proton a market share of 17.6%. Let us round up to 18%.

    18% is the lowest ever and a disastrous number. As recently as ten years ago Proton had 60% of the market.

  • avatar

    So basically Proton is embarrassed by their sales numbers? Kinda like kids hiding their bad report card from their parents?

  • avatar
    Polar Bear

    Loss of face is a big thing for Asians. Westerners often underestimate how strongly Asians feel about public embarrassment and how far they will go to avoid it.

    Or it is all a conveniently timed coincidence…

  • avatar

    One other thing you should remember is that Proton cars are horrible. I’ve driven some. I’m also an expat living in Malaysia, and we ended up spending just a little bit more to get a Kia instead. Not only did that get us crash safety up to an international standard, but just a much more advanced car.

    Also, in terms of prestige, the local makes (Proton and Perodua) rank… rather lowly.

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