Finally Official recognition http://motoring.asiaone.com/Motoring/News/Story/Stream%2Bbeats%2BWish%2Bas%2Btop%2Bgrey%2Bimport.html
Stream beats Wish as top grey import
THE Honda Stream has shot past the hitherto best-selling Toyota Wish to become the top parallel import model, as grey importers hit a record high by half-time compared to the same period last year.
In the first six months, the compact seven-seat MPV model from Honda whizzed past the perennial favourite from Toyota with sales of 1,926 units versus 1,866. The Wish has been the top grey import model here since it appeared in early 2003.
Overall, the Toyota brand still remained the favourite parallel import (PI), chalking up a total of 5,534 units or 47.9 per cent of total PI sales of 11,565 from January to June 2007, according to figures from the Land Transport Authority.
As usual, the Honda brand continued to be the runner-up, accounting for a combined 4,601 units or 39.8 per cent of all PI cars in the first half.
Together, Toyota and Honda account for almost nine out of every 10 parallel imports so far this year.
By all accounts, the PI industry is headed for another bumper year. The first six months of 2006 saw sales of 7,341 units, but at 11,565 units, the corresponding period this year is already 57.5 per cent higher than last year, and is fast closing in on 2006's total of 16,137 PI units.
Equally ominous is the proportion of PI cars registered against those sold by authorised distributors, represented here by the members of the Motor Traders Association of Singapore (MTA). Last year, there was one PI car for every six authorised versions. For the first half of 2007, it was 1-in-4.
Already, some distributors are feeling the heat, and they are not merely confined to those that compete head-to-head with parallel importers who sell the same brand. Apart from Toyota, Honda and Suzuki (the third most popular PI brand at a distant 842 units), other marques which are being hit include the Korean and mass market European brands.
Lower PI pricing is eating into Hyundai's market, for example. Together with the PI models' higher brand equity, they become more attractive than those from Korea.
The competition is having significant effects too. In the first six months, Hyundai's volume fell to 3,643 units, excluding 1,194 taxis, or almost 37 per cent down from the same period a year ago. Among MTA members, its ranking also fell from No4 to No5.
Some authorised distributors allege that parallel importers' lower prices are due to under-declaration of cost, insurance and freight (CIF). As lower CIF translates into lower OMV or open market value, this means that the parallel importers have a strong price advantage compared with authorised dealers.
At least one distributor is fighting back. Since the domestic Stream model was introduced here last September, authorised distributor Kah Motor has decided to homologate an export version of the car which is now available here with the required technical specifications.
However, the Honda Airwave (903 units) is still not available here. Neither are the Wish and Runx (743 units) from Borneo Motors Singapore. Strangely though, the third most popular PI model - after the Stream and Wish - is the Honda Fit. This Japanese domestic model found 952 buyers in the first half, even though it is an ageing model that can be bought as the Honda Jazz from Kah Motor.
Pricing could be one reason, while consumer indifference could be another.
A similar example is the Toyota Estima, which can be found at Borneo Motors as the Previa; and the Suzuki Swift Sport, a 1.6-litre model which is available at Champion Motors.
The Estima racked up 488 units while the Swift 1.6 found 190 buyers.