Mary has over 20 years experience as the editor of our Malaysian sister magazine, The Tyreman. Based in Kuala Lumpur, she writes articles for us on the Malaysian and other South East Asian markets.
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The 3rd September 2020 marked the second anniversary since the Gran Max Automatic Transmission Panel Van (AT) was launched in Malaysia.
It was the first ever automatic transmission light panel van in Malaysia, and, to-date, there is no other brand distributor that offers this option, thus making the Gran Max truly one of its kind.
“We introduced Gran Max AT into Malaysia after taking into consideration the demand for having a passenger car-like driveability experience in a commercial vehicle, the rise in female segment entrepreneurship and the local business demographic. For instance, for the younger generations, the majority of them have never driven manuals before,” said Arman Mahadi, Managing Director, Daihatsu (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd (DMSB).
In addition, he said, the company sees the most demand for easy manoeuvring and handling, especially when braving daily traffic jams and narrow city streets, not to mention tight parking spots. With its compact size and user practicality, Gran Max AT is ideal for the Malaysian traffic conditions and road landscape. In fact, he pointed out that Gran Max in Malaysia is the only van with automatic transmission availability for the commercial segment export market, while in Indonesia, Gran Max is only sold with manual transmission.
Regarding market response, he commented that Gran Max AT is especially well received among the locally owned independent small businesses community, followed by e-commerce logistics and delivery companies due to the fact that there’s new trend picking up amongst fleets. Although compact in size, he stressed that it offers a good load space to fit and run their daily errand operations as the model is very practical and easy to handle on the road, no matter the distance.
Daihatsu Malaysia sales registration picking up
Based on the first half of 2020 market review from Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA), he said, the first 6 months achievement for commercial vehicles was lower at 37.9 per cent for registered units as compared to same period last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Pick-up sub-segments suffered the biggest drop at 34.1 per cent followed by trucks and panel vans.
“During this period of uncertainty, banks and financial institutions are very cautious, so there will be stricter vetting on applications for hire purchase loans. Despite the challenge for hire purchase approvals and the government initiatives on sales tax exemption that does not include commercial vehicles, purchase sentiment for commercial vehicle has seen some improvement, as demand for the Gran Max is apparent at Daihatsu Malaysia. Our sales registration has been picking up, business has since recovered and is almost back to usual levels, while we are adjusting to the new normal. The vehicle regular service at Daihatsu has also been consistent. This is because the drivers need to take the vehicle uptime into consideration, as the commercial vehicles were used to a high degree during the enforcement of movement control order (MCO) till the current recovery movement control order.”
Arman sees the opportunity in the e-commerce sector, influenced largely by the steady growth from online retailing where transport vehicle is essential. He also noticed that more commercial and strategic alliances between postal couriers and logistics operators are likely to pan out. To boost sales and maintain market share, he revealed that Daihatsu Malaysia will be continuing to channel their efforts into on-going aggressive campaigns aimed to enhance purchase consideration. Another aim is to sustain value towards fleet customers by accentuating the Daihatsu Business Fleet Program and strengthen customer loyalty, as well as retention at the same time.
Why Daihatsu Gran Max?
Businesses always need to provide movement and impetus and Arman states that there are some key reasons why Gran Max should be at the top of one’s list to move his or her business forward. Firstly, Gran Max is a one size fits all solution and, despite its compact dimensions, Gran Max is quite generous on its loading capacity with easy access to cater to the increased arena of small packages and parcels deliveries. Secondly, it is truly versatile with a customisation of up to 17 body applications to fit every business need. Thirdly, it is designed with the driver in mind, as well as with comfort and compact car-like driver handling. This, he said, is of major importance for the highly outsourced contract drivers and small and medium size (SME) owners with increased population order/delivery resulting in more trips within urban areas.
The fourth reason is the practicality and the availability of the auto transmission version, which provides easy access for express delivery at multiple locations within urban areas with heavy traffic, and which requires access to short-term parking or drop-off at unloading zones. Last but not least, Arman states that the fifth reason is its economical running cost. Powered by its DOHC DVVT 1.5-litre engine capacity, this delivers greater fuel efficiency. With the uncertainties with fuel prices, which are likely to continue, and the increase in travelling frequencies, combined with its proven reliability and dependability, he stressed that Gran Max is definitely worth the investment.
“Furthermore, with our established network of 21 sales outlets and 30 service centres available nationwide, we are providing convenience and support to our customers to ensure they have peace of mind when using our products. We offer quality and reliable after sales services, quick turnarounds, and affordable maintenance costs, as well as a personal touch to ensure our clients that their vehicles are in good hands. As sales slowly bounce back, DMSB is focusing on improving inventory and maintaining a consistent after sales service in the hope of getting our customers to keep coming back,’’ he added.
Leverage on Daihatsu brand heritage and market acceptance
Daihatsu Malaysia is confident of achieving its pre-MCO sales target by the end of the 2020 fiscal year, Senior Manager of Corporate Planning, Product & Marketing Muhammad Fahmi added, especially when looking at the incoming fleet and individual sales that have emerged from SME, who hold the greatest potential for productivity gained through e-businesses.
“Daihatsu Japan has 113 years of manufacturing expertise and distributing experience in regards to Daihatsu passenger and commercial vehicles globally. This year marked DMSB’s 40th year of establishment within Malaysia, and we greatly appreciate and are thankful for the trust and positive feedback received from owners, especially for choosing and trusting Daihatsu as their repeat, additional and replacement vehicle for both individual and fleet purchase. Today, the Daihatsu brand is regarded as the predominant player in the light commercial vehicle segment. It is the preferred choice mainly for logistics companies, professional services, government bodies and agencies, utilities and maintenance as well as SMEs.“
The brand acceptance of Gran Max in the market, he commented, with a degree of pride is reflected by its proven record based on number of sales and fleet companies under its belt. It has been 10 years since the Gran Max was introduced, and it has gained a legacy of solid business transport passed on from one generation to another. The reliability, dependability and consistency throughout the years is what grows a business.
Fahmi expects sales of Gran Max AT to increase in upcoming years with a booming of local entrepreneurship post Covid-19. Based on MAA market review for the first half of 2020, total industry volume (TIV) of commercial vehicles in Malaysia for the next 4 years is projected to grow by 17 per cent (2021), 9.1 per cent (2022) and 2.0 per cent (2023/2024) respectively.
Moving forward, he said, the upcoming introduction of the newly enhanced features and improved specification, mainly on safety and performance that complies with Malaysian regulation at very competitive prices, which may assist in sustaining buying interest.
“DMSB is set to continual growing, but not limited to expansion of network to cater to increased demand and growth in the industry, as well as in fulfilling our new and current customers’ needs,” he concluded.
2020年9月23日是Gran Max自排厢型车（AT）在大马上市的第二周年。它不仅是马来西亚首部自排轻型厢型车，而且截至今天仍没有其他品牌的经销商提供这样的选择，使Gran Max成为同类产品中唯一的自排车。
大发（马来西亚）私人有限公司阿曼（Arman Mahadi）表示：“我们在考虑了人们在商用车中寻找驾驶轿车般的经验，女性企业家人数的增长及本地业务的结构，比如大部分的年轻一代都不曾驾驶过手排车后，推出了Gran Max AT。”
此外，他说，最多的人要求车子的容易操纵和处理，尤其每天必须面对交通阻塞和穿梭于狭窄的城市街道，更不用说狭窄的停车位。体积小和实用的Gran Max AT，非常适合马来西亚的交通情况和道路景观。他指出，事实上，Gran Max在印尼只有手排挡，马来西亚是唯一出售自排版的海外商用车市场。
至于市场反应，他评论说，由于车队之间出现了新趋势，Gran Max AT尤其受到本地的独立小型企业，电子商务物流及货运公司的欢迎。他强调说，虽然体积小，它可提供足够的负载空间来安置和执行业主的日常差事。此外，它具有实用车型，不管距离多远，在路上都易于操纵。
阿曼说，企业始终需要提供活动和活力，以下是业者应将Gran Max列在清单榜首，推进他们业务的一些关键原因。首先，尽管Gran Max体积小，但却个“一刀切”的解决方案。Gran Max进出容易，再加上宽敞的装载空间，能够迎合不断增长的小型包裹和包裹交付领域需求。第二，它提供多达17种定制车身应用，能够迎合每一种业务需求，是一部真正的多功能厢型车。第三，它在设计时考虑了司机和舒适性，以及犹如小型轿车般的操纵性。因此，他说，这对订单/交付数量增加而必须在城市里运输多次，高度外包的驾驶人，中小型的业主尤其重要。
第四点是实用性和自排版的推出，方便在交通繁忙的城市的进行多个地方的快递服务，而且还需要短时间停车或在卸货区下货。最后，阿曼说第五个理由是搭载DOHC DVVT 1.5升引擎的它，更为节油，运营成本非常经济。随着燃油价格的不确定性，而且极可能会保持上升趋势和行驶频率的增加下，他强调Gran Max已获证实的可靠和可信任性确实值得投资。
他为Gran Max所获得的市场认可感到骄傲，这点可从其旗下的销售量和车队公司数目的良好业绩反映出来。Gran Max在大马推出已有10年，并赢得了从一代传到下一代坚实商业运输工具的美号。正是它这些年来的可靠、可信任及一致性，使业务得以增长。
法米预期，新冠肺炎后，随着本地企业家的蓬勃发展，Gran Max的销售量可望在未来几年有所增加。据马来西亚汽车商公会的市场检讨报告预测，未来4年的马来西亚商用车行业总量（TIV）预期将分别增长17% （2021年），9.1% （2020年）及2.0% (2023/2024)。
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