Lately, there has been much speculation on an upcoming new SUV by Perodua, with no shortage of details and purported insider information shared on social media. The “news” was accompanied by very pretty renders of an SUV, which went viral over the past week.
While Perodua’s interest in selling an SUV in Malaysia is known – we first reported Perodua president and CEO Datuk Aminar Rashid Salleh saying that the Malaysian market leader is seriously considering an SUV back in July 2017 – the company has not officially shed light on details and timelines despite repeated attempts by the media.
There have been reports by analysts pointing to a 2018 launch, with some specifically mentioning the Kuala Lumpur International Motor Show (KLIMS) happening later this year as the launch venue. Others claim that training for sales personnel will commence in August or September.
In an exclusive interview with paultan.org, Perodua Sales managing director Datuk Dr Zahari Husin dispelled rumours of a 2018 launch for the SUV, and said for certain that there will be no sales training in the coming months. He did however share some insights on the all-new product, hinting at what Malaysians can expect from Perodua. As for the viralled red SUV? It may not be true, but he loves it!
DT: We understand that Perodua has been working overtime in production to meet strong demand for current models, especially the Myvi, so is there room for any all-new products this year?
ZH: You’re right, our focus now is to increase production to try and meet current demand, and also the demand from the next three months – that’s our priority. Myvi customers have been waiting.
For a manufacturer, it’s good to know that you have a waiting period of three months, but it’s not that favourable too, because if you can’t manage this, then customers will start running away. We have to improve this (situation), that’s our priority right now. About the new model, when the time comes, we’ll share.
DT: There’s a current viral post with purported details of Perodua’s new SUV, including sales staff getting training in the coming months. What do you have to say about that?
ZH: I can tell you there will be no training in August and September. I can tell you that the car being viralled is not our new model. That one is too nice (laughs). I wish that model will be our model, if you’re referring to the red car.
DT: It’s known that Perodua is looking at an SUV as the next product…
ZH: We’re seeing growth in the SUV market, not just in Malaysia but regionally – Thailand, Indonesia, even in Japan. We definitely want to follow the trend. If we are going to introduce a new model to add to our current range, of course we will look at what’s the trend right now. So maybe “SUV” is the right segment to look at if we are to introduce a new model.
DT: Daihatsu has a fresh SUV in Indonesia. However, recent trend shows Perodua increasingly doing its own thing in terms of R&D and design. Will this trend continue with the new product?
ZH: Daihatsu has introduced a new Terios in Indonesia. Even though the SUV market size is growing, the total volume is still small, and we still consider it a niche segment compared to sedans and hatchbacks in Malaysia.
For this type of model, hypothetically, if we already have a base model somewhere else that we can ride on, I think that will be a wiser move than if you develop completely on your own for a small volume model.
Having said that, our R&D capabilities today is not like 10 years ago. We have the capability to do our own upper body design. So, the platform may be shared, certain chassis related things might be shared, but when it comes to the final appearance and styling, it will be unique to Malaysian requirements.
Our past few models have been done by our people, and Perodua has been known for introducing something unique for Malaysians. That, I’m sure will continue.
DT: It’s shaping up to be a busy year for Perodua. Will we see this new product this year?
ZH: Yes, it’s a busy year. We have, not a new product, but some activity that’s product related. Not new product. On that hypothetical question – unlikely.
GALLERY: 2018 Daihatsu Terios, Indonesian market