| Azlan Othman |
THE number of vehicles sold in Brunei Darussalam was almost similar in 2014 compared to the previous year, reaching over 18,000 vehicles with the smaller car segment dominating sales, according to the latest report released by Brunei Auto Trader Association (BATA).
Even though sales of passenger vehicles for 2014 were down by 2.7 per cent, dealers in the Sultanate remain cautiously optimistic for the year ahead.
A senior staff at one of the established car dealers speaking on condition of anonymity noted that 2015 could be critical with uncertainties hitting the industry, including insurance premium payment that created buzz in the social media recently.
However, he was pleased to note that the smaller, economy car segment with engine capacity of 1,300cc to 1,600cc and the luxury vehicle segments were expanding based on last year’s figures. The smaller car segment was the popular choice in 2013.
“The industry is changing and life is becoming tougher for car dealers. Not everyone can be a car sales consultant nowadays.
“They must have the commitment. It’s no longer a part-time job as the consultant has to follow the guidelines of the company such as obtaining a six-month pay slip before a customer can buy a car,” he said.
Total vehicle sales including trucks, vans, buses and pick-ups reached 18,124 units last year compared to 18,642 units in 2013.
Sales by Japanese automaker Toyota in 2014 were at 3,750 units and was Brunei’s most popular auto brand, followed by Korean automaker KIA with 2,640 units and another Korean brand Hyundai with 1,899 units.
In 2013, Toyota sold 3,881 units, Kia 2,486 units and Suzuki 1,693 units. Some brands unknown to buyers recorded a sluggish sale last year to an extent of selling just one car.
Late last month (December 26), the Brunei Insurance and Takaful Association (BITA) dismissed a text message that went viral on the increase in insurance premium beginning this year as untrue.
BITA clarified that the Autoriti Monetari Brunei Darussalam (AMBD) had not issued any directive on this matter.
It is the motor insurers’ concerted effort in line with the objective of having a sustainable fund to meet their current and future obligation to respective policy holders and to have a common motor underwriting practice which will be used by all motor insurers, it added.