Malaysian company UMW hopes to sell more cars after this year after launching new Toyota models.

Chief executive Abdul Halim Harun told Reuters he expects 2008 car sales to rise 6-7% amid strong demand for small cars, but was cautious about the middle class and luxury car segments.

"As far as the car sales is concerned, I don't see a slowdown," he told the news agency. "We'd like to see that growth contributed by the new models."

Reuters said the forecast was above an industry projection of 4.7% growth in motor vehicle sales on continued growth in the Malaysian economy, which is officially projected to expand at a 6-6.5% pace in 2008 on the back of strong domestic demand.

UMW controls almost half of Malaysia's car market through its joint venture, UMW Toyota Motor, and an associated company, Perusahaan Otomobil Kedua Sdn Bhd (Perodua), the report noted.

Halim reportedly said the company's launch of Toyota Corolla Altis and the recent launch of the Toyota Rush would boost its sale of Toyota cars to 90,000 in 2008 from just over 80,000 last year.