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First updated : 26 May 2009
Last Updated : 02 July 2012

The most popular cars manufacturer in Malaysia is ... a tie between Proton and Perodua.  You don't need statistics to tell you which are models are favourites just visit the local car park!  Yes there are other relatively popular manufacturers like Toyota and Honda but the vast majority are made by the Malaysian manufacturers of Proton and Perodua.

The history of both companies is easy to find on the web but summarised in terms of models, Proton bases all its cars on late Mitsubishi cars and Perodua bases its cars on the latest made by Daihatsu.  The most common model outright that can be seen is the Proton Saga due to its use as a Taxi.  The most common privately owned car appears to be the Perodua Kancil and the MyVi.  These are not the best cars in the world but they provide the necessary transportation for its people.

Cars cost a lot in Malaysia relative to average income.  The basic Proton Saga starts at about 31,000RM while the Perodua Kancil starts at 24,700RM.  Note that the engine capacity for the Proton Saga ranges form 1.3 to 1.6 litres and the Perodua Kancil engine capacity start at 659cc to 847cc.  These are not fast cars no matter how you compare them with other models.  As a comparison the cheapest Toyota of a comparable size the 1.5 litre Yaris or Vios costs about 68,000RM.  A new Mini cost over 167,000RM.  This is a simple comparison but I think you get the drift of why the Malaysian models are so popular. Completely off topic - but the cheapest small apartment I saw around KL cost 59,000RM.

Motorcycles are also very popular in Malaysia due to their cheap prices.  I couldn't find a motorcycle dealer that sold what we consider normal models.  Instead these motorcycles where 125cc and under! The most popular models where Honda Dream and Honda Wave and its predecessors, the Honda Cub series. Most had 2-stroke engines! since the newer 4-stroke models are relatively new releases.  Yamaha, Kawasaki and Suzuki are not very popular by comparison.  Prices start from about 2,500RM for a 125cc - I think that's what they said. High capacity models above 250cc are very rare and I can't tell you about how much they cost.  However since I only saw a few high capacity models I can only assume they cost as mach a car or more!

So on the surface cars are still are premium items to Malaysians considering you can buy a apartment or house for the same sort of money.  Public transport like buses and trains are hence very popular.  Bicycles and colourful rickshaws are not that common anymore which is a tad sad.  You can still ride one in Penang and Malacca though!

The bus system in Malaysia is very popular and effective.  There are many operators but some are not as reliable as others.  I experienced such a bus operator on my trip to Malacca which - lets just say they wouldn't survive in any other part of the world.  They showed lovely pictures of ALL their buses as I was told but when you get there its not what the picture says.  Their timetable is not accurate either.  So choose carefully they are all priced about the same anyway so check out their parked buses before you book.  My experience was rectified by choosing another bus company for other journeys which a good as you would expect in any other modern country.  That said there are shonky operators everywhere.

The roads in Malaysia are surprisingly good, especially the new toll road between the major cities.  The drivers mostly stick to the roads rules except in the city centers where many appear to ignore red lights for a start.  I guess it all relative since they know they'll get away with it without consequences.  Apart from that its all very civilized.  As long as you can get used to driving on the left side of the road and watch both sides of the road.

Picture caption: The picture at the top shows a regular car park in Malaysia 99% Proton or Perodua models.

-> Malaysia travel Guide - Malacca (Melaka)

Malaysia travel guide - Introduction
Malaysia travel guide - Penang

Malaysia travel guide - Penang Accommodation & Transport
Malaysia travel guide - Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia travel guide - Cars and Motorcycles
Malaysia travel guide - Malacca (Melaka)
Malaysia travel guide - Genting Highlands

Malaysia travel guide - Final Thoughts



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