SHAH ALAM (June 4): Weststar Maxus Sdn Bhd, the sole distributor of China’s Maxus vehicles in Malaysia, expects sales to jump 30% to 1,300 units this year from nearly 1,000 units in 2017.
Its director Datuk Vikram Menon said anchoring the sales growth would be the aggressive marketing and promotions, as well as strong demand from fleet customers such as courier providers and healthcare operators.
"Weststar is going aggressive with its marketing campaign to ensure that it gets the right brand visibility in the market," Vikram, who is also an executive director at the enlarged Weststar Group, told reporters after launching the group’s Aidilfitri festive campaign today.
"We're making a great leap forward to become a mainstream player in Malaysia. Our goal is to build an extensive network throughout the country and offering services that are competitive with the other leading industry players," he added.
To help garner more prominence, Weststar has roped in a celebrity family comprising of Awal Ashari, Scha Alyahya, and Lara Alana, in which the trio is famously known as "Schawalara."
"The public image as a young, on-the-go family fits in perfectly with our brand propositions," Vikram said, noting that the celebrity family is hugely popular in Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei with more than 19 million followers on social media.
As for the fleet customers, Vikram said Weststar Maxus is targeting firms that require large fleets to operate their businesses such as postal and courier firms, bakery firms, banks as well as government agencies such as hospitals, police, fire and rescue department, and armed forces.
"For example, Massimo, the Italian bread company, is using our light van for delivery purpose. And we have more orders from other players and I cannot disclose that for now," he added.
Currently, Weststar Maxus sells two vehicles: G10, a four-door luxury multipurpose vehicle that can seat up to 10 individuals, and V80, a light van that can be used as an ambulance.
Weststar Maxus said the on-the-road price of a G10 starts from RM147,888, while the basic model of V80 is priced from RM100,000 onwards.
In conjunction with the Aidilfitri season, Weststar Maxus said it is "revving up a bounty of festive deals" by accepting a trade-in of existing MPV in exchange of a brand new G10.
"We offer the highest trade-in value compared to the market standard and other used car dealers," Vikram said, adding that Weststar Maxus will also throw a five-year warranty period, with two years of free labour and parts costs.
With the promotion, Vikram said Weststar hopes to deliver a monthly sales of 100 units for its G10 model.
"By year-end, we hope to lock in 450 in sales of new vans. In total, we should meet our internal projections," he added.
Going forward, Vikram said Weststar Maxus plans to launch two new models in two new vehicle segments: pick-up truck (T60) and sports utility (D90).
"Pending clearance of proper documentations, we are hoping that the new models can be launched in the third or fourth quarter of this year," he said, adding that the new models will be imported from China before being assembled at its joint-venture plant in Tampoi, Johor.
Weststar Maxus cars, which have 40% local content, is assembled by its partner firm that is linked to Berjaya Assets Bhd.
"Once we have launched the new models, we will see the feasibility of assembling it locally, taking into account demand," he added.
On the zero-rated goods and services tax Vikram said Weststar Maxus will ensure that it will meet the demand as consumers enjoy a three-month tax holiday before the government reintroduces the sales and services tax on Sept 1.
"At this point in time, our pricing remains competitive and we will continue to adhere to the latest regulation of the government," he added.
Controlled by aviation and defence tycoon Tan Sri Syed Azman Syed Ibrahim, Weststar Maxus has six outlets, comprising showrooms and service centres across Kuala Lumpur, Johor, Penang and Kelantan.
Founded in 2011, Maxus, is a division of SAIC Motor Corp Ltd, the largest automaker in China that sold 6.93 million cars last year.