Monday, December 6, 2010

Fuel hike attract added interest at KLIMS

Honda's decision to price their purpose-designed hybrid vehicle, the Insight at RM98,000 was a genuine shocker to everyone but what was even more interesting was their announcement of what seems like a hopelessly optimistic target of 4,000 units per year.

Considering that even the Civic Hybrid is not going to manage anything beyond a few hundred units this year, their aim seemed a little misplaced but then the Malaysian Government removed a bit more of the country's fuel subsidy.

Even the populist RON95 petrol and diesel saw a price increase and this small step towards free-market fuel price is making more Malaysians take a longer-term view of their motoring habits and the impact it is having on their wallet, if not the environment.

A quick visit to the  Insight, Civic Hybrid and Prius stands at the KL International Motor show quickly paints a picture of keen interest among Malaysians,

They looked under the bonnet, listened to explanations intently and looked genuinely concerned about the effects of buying petrol on their budget.

In fact several industry insiders we asked over the weekend said that with a price tag of RM98,000 Honda could easily sell between 2,000 and 2,500 units of the Insight and the 4,000 unit target is neither surprising nor too optimistic.

This puts Toyota in a spot because they cannot afford to allow the Insight to become a runaway success and corner a very important potential future market.

Toyota can either come up with a more competitively priced model or reduce the price of their Prius. The Prius is punching is a price class above the Civic Hybrid because it offers superior performance and unique design so it isn't likely for the Prius to shed from its price tag.

Maybe the Yaris Hybrid will come in and fight with the Insight.

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