Malaysia’s second national car company, Perusahaan Otomobil Kedua Sdn Bhd (Perodua), ceased production of its veteran Kancil mini-car after 15 years of production last week.

At a ceremony at the plant on Monday to mark the occasion, managing director Syed Hafiz Syed Abu Bakar said 722,223 Kancils had been produced since the August 1994 launch.

The Kancil replacement, the VIVA 660 BX (Basic), was also launched on Monday with an on the road price of MYR 23,500 (US$6,710). Perodua plans to strengthen its range further this year with the launch of a new 1.5L MPV model in November, with orders taken from October.

Syed Hafiz expects the domestic market to strengthen in the second half of the year as the beneficial effects of the government’s stimulus programme, including low interest rates, filter down. In the first-half of 2009 Perodua sold 77,000 vehicles, with the Myvi accounting for 53% of total volumes and the Viva range 42%. It aims to sell 158,000 units in the full year.

Tony Pugliese