Malaysian passenger car sales rose by 24.8% in February over a year earlier to 35,474 units, the Malaysian Automotive Association reported on Wednesday.

Total vehicle sales were up 23.3% to 38,587 units over the same period, it added in a statement.

New vehicle sales in Malaysia fell for a second straight year in 2007 but are expected to rebound this year, due to a strong economy and the launch of new models.

Sales in south-east Asia's largest passenger car market dipped 7% year on year to 487,176 units last year.

The Malaysian Automotive Association has forecast vehicle sales to rise to 510,000 this year on the back of projected economic growth of more than 5%.