DRB-HICOM Commercial Vehicles Sdn Bhd (DHCV), the authorised importer and distributor of Tata Motors Limited commercial vehicles in Malaysia, is gearing up for further growth in 2018 and beyond. Its growth plans include the introduction of three new vehicles for 2018 and a local-assembly programme in the mid-term.
Since its brand launch in 2015, DHCV has sold 654 Tata commercial vehicles. The total sales volume consisted of pickup trucks, light trucks and prime movers.
This puts Tata in 10th place among 28 competing brands in the commercial vehicle (CV) category. The CV category includes pickup trucks, trucks, prime movers, panel vans and buses.
“We are ready to move up and be a bigger player in the commercial vehicle category and in selected segments,” said Dato’ Abdul Harith Abdullah, Chief Operating Officer, Automotive, Distribution, Manufacturing and Engineering, DRB-HICOM Berhad.
“The last three years have been a learning curve for us. Come 2018, we are confident we have the right products in technology, affordability and durability to be truly competitive in the commercial vehicle category. We would be offering three all-new products – two in the light commercial vehicle segment and one in the small pickup segment,” Dato’ Harith added.
“This is our debut in the small pickup category with an all-new product. Based on our research, we are confident we have the right product for this segment and are able to serve most requirements of customers within the segment,” said Chin Tan Hee, Chief Operating Officer for DHCV.
Chin added: “Small pickups constitute two per cent of the total pickup segment. Our objectives are to offer customers an alternative and a highly competitive product. The Tata Motors small pickup is a highly successful product, many of which are reliably plying the roads in other regional markets. We are confident it will help us gain a fair share of this promising and growing segment.”
Tata Motors (which also owns Jaguar and Land Rover) is currently the world’s 10th largest motor vehicle manufacturer and fourth largest truck and second largest bus manufacturer. Its manufacturing footprint, including design and research-and-development facilities, spans the world with six manufacturing and assembly facilities in India, in addition to Argentina, Indonesia, South Africa, Spain, Thailand and the United Kingdom. Its product portfolio ranges from sub-tonne and 49-tonne mass movers to five-seater minivans and 81-seater buses. Tata is also a renowned manufacturer of medium- and heavy-duty trucks.
In 2017, the total volume for CV in Malaysia was 61,956 units. Pickups commanded 67 per cent of this volume (41,316 units), while trucks took 22 per cent (13,860 units). Prime movers, vans, light buses and buses made up the balance. The Malaysian Automotive Association recently forecasted a 2.3 per cent growth in total industry volume (590,000 units) for 2018. Of that total, 63,500 units would consist of commercial vehicles, representing a 2.5 per cent growth.
With the introduction of its all-new Tata small pickup, DHCV anticipates to command about 10-15 per cent of the small pickup segment by 2022. For 2018, DHCV plans to achieve a volume of 150 light-duty trucks to capture 2 per cent of a segment that is expected to have an annual volume of 7,500 units.
Plans for local assembly are in place and would be implemented at the appropriate time in the near future. According to Chin, local assembly is more ideal, in line with the government`s aspirations to promote the suppliers` ecosystem while creating new ones to offer employment and develop new skills. It would also introduce DHCV and Tata to more business opportunities including potentials in the public sector.
With a higher volume achieving economies of scale, it is also a cost-effective option for various stakeholders and customers as parts and service would be readily available, lowering overall ownership and running costs. Local assembly would be carried out in DRB-HICOM’s assembly plant in Pekan by HICOM Automotive Manufacturers (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd.
Tata Motor customers in Malaysia are currently served by a network of 24 outlets located at strategic locations and in major townships nationwide. DHCV aims to expand this network across Peninsular and East Malaysia, in tandem with sales growth and market penetration in the near future.