There’s a nine-month waiting list for the X50 and here’s how to jump the queue and get yours tax-free

If you’ve booked the hottest car in the Malaysian market, the Proton X50, here’s the way to jump the 9 month queue.

In the meantime, ignore the terrible rumours about why the waiting list is so long because many of these rumours are fed by people, some of whom have their own agendas.

Confirming the nine-month waiting list, three dealers confirmed the long wait and one of them said that the order book was now entering October 2021.

One issue is that deliveries after 30 June won’t be eligible for the sales tax waiver.

Another dealer said that he could supply the X50 in “three to four months if you order the standard specification, RM79,000 base model and accept any colour.”

Here are the rumours and the facts:

Some said that Proton didn’t have money for X50 CKD kits and vendors were being paid in kind (by way of cars) for their components. We checked this with a senior Proton staff and he completely disputed that on two counts.

 “Money is absolutely not an issue. We secured some very good credit lines last year and financing is not an issue,” he said, declining to be identified because he’s not authorised to speak with the media.

“The problem, and it’s a good problem is simply that this is one of those classic cases of demand completely overwhelming supply.

“Put yourself in our shoes when we’re planning the product mix in terms of volume. Technically, the X50 is a new product, a B-segment SUV. There hasn’t been a proper B-segment SUV in Malaysia unless you count the Honda HR-V. You saw with the HR-V doing 10,000+ units. The X70 was doing on or about 26,000 units, under 30,000 units in those first two years.

“The SUV B-segment was not a large one. The B-segment was primarily the space of sedans.

“If you were in our shoes, would you dare say that the X50 would sell 36,000 units a year? When we opened the bookings for the X50 and the first two months booking already hit 30,000 bookings, then how?” he asked rhetorically.

“And in the first three months of the start of CKD operations, there is a learning curve. Additional delays were contributed by the Covid-19 testing of the assembly line workers,” he said.

Another rumour was that there were technical issues with the car, including engine vibration and wind noise from the door mirror mounted on the A pillar. We can also discount this because this car has been in the China market for almost two years and technical issues like this would have been earlier resolved in the domestic China market. Also, the X50 is based on a three-cylinder engine and even though there are mechanisms like counter balancers, there will be an inherent imbalance at certain low rpms but nothing to suggest that there’s any design issue.

There was also speculation that a Covid-19 cluster in Proton’s R&D department had disrupted production. The fact is that Proton makes the X50 in Tanjung Malim while the R&D department is in Shah Alam.

So, if you want to get an X50 without the sales tax, ie getting your hands on one before 30th June, you should book a standard specification, basic model and be willing to take any colour. Good luck.

While Proton has been the big winner in 2020, being the only car company to gain ground in a diminishing market with its Persona, Iriz, Exora, refreshed Saga and X70, Honda was also proud of its achievement.

Honda Malaysia was happy to claim its position as the top non-national automotive brand for the 6th consecutive year with sales of 60,469 units. Its City was the top-selling car in its product line up, with a 34 percent share of its sales. The Civic accounted for 20 percent share and the HR-V for 17 percent share.

The conservative Malaysian Automotive Association will release the 2020 sales figures for all the major brands usually on the 23rd of January 2021.

As for UMW-Toyota, it hasn’t declared its sales figures because it’s got nothing to shout about yet.

I say “yet” because knowing Toyota, it’s not going to let Honda get away with being #1 for more than a few years.

Its new Bukit Raja auto plant has been ready for a few years and we can be sure that Toyota will launch a slew of new Toyota cars including hybrids over the next few years.