Malaysia June-July 2012: Why there is no market report
* See the original Motor Trader Malaysia article by clicking on the title! *
If you are a regular BSCB reader you would have noticed that Malaysian car sales data usually comes pretty late in the month, but for the last two months it hasn’t come at all… There is actually a reason for this. Motor Trader Malaysia, my usual source of model sales data for the country and themselves using Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) data, announced two days ago that there would not be any data published for June or July, quoting the MAA themselves.
The reason is Proton is unwilling to provide their data, and given they traditionally rank either #1 or #2 brand in Malaysia, a sales summary would not be meaningful without Proton, which is a fair call by the MAA. But why is Proton not communicating any figures? Proton’s refusal to supply the data is due to its belief that doing so would be an offence under the Malaysian Competition Act. The Act, intended to prevent price-fixing (among other things), suggests that sharing of data by car companies is an act of collusion. You can find more information about the Competition Act here.
Now this may sound like a mundane issue but we are actually hitting at the core of what car sales data reporting is: a better transparency for all actors in the car industry, not just manufacturers but all segments of a country’s economy that are impacted by car manufacturing. And better transparency is what I would like to achieve for Africa in BSCB’s Africa Project, which I launched yesterday.
But let’s get into the Malaysian situation in more detail as it has developed into a heated debate…(Click on ‘Read more’ below for the rest of the article)
Interestingly, MAA President Datuk Aishah Ahmad said statements made by the Malaysian Competition Commission (MyCC) regarding the sharing of data as being against the Competition Act are incorrect and that the matter is now being handled by lawyers. “It was stated by an MyCC official that as a result of such sharing of data, parts prices will go up. I find it hard to understand how parts dealers would use the data and decide that their prices should be raised! The MAA is an association and not a cartel. We have been compiling sales data from our members and making the data available to all members and subscribers. The data is historical in nature, not forecasts, and it allows every company to have a better idea of market trends. Such information will encourage competition, which is what the Competition Act aims to achieve,” she said.
Datuk Dr. Ang Bon Beng, a MAA Vice-President and also Executive Director of Edaran Tan Chong Motor added: “By submitting our data to the MAA, we are being transparent and I believe that is how business should be done. If data is not made known, then we would not be transparent and isn’t that wrong?” I have to say I fully agree with this statement.
Datuk Aishah also said that the MAA had checked with associations in other countries such as the USA, India, Japan and Australia, and found that the data they receive from their members is detailed, just as it has always been in Malaysia until this year. “Bear in mind that these countries implemented a similar Competition Act earlier than Malaysia and they do not have such issues as sharing of historical sales data being an offence,” she said. And yes, BSCB would not exist were not for these associations and the manufacturers themselves providing detailed information each month in over 60 countries around the globe.
Understandably, Motor Trader Malaysia has suspended publishing any market report as it is unclear whether doing so would be unlawful. Let’s hope this Malaysian matter will be resolved quickly. It would be a shame to see a country go backwards with car sales data transparency, at a time when more and more countries come forward and share their figures more freely.
The original article published in Motor Trader Malaysia is below.