MALAYSIA: Vehicle sales declined 17.5% in January
Malaysia's vehicle sales fell 17.5% year-on-year in January as the economy and consumer confidence slumped further.
The Malaysian Automotive Association said sales volume in January 2009 fell to 37,801 units.
The association noted that the sharp decline was also caused by a shorter working month in January due to the Lunar New Year celebrations.
It said that sales volume for February was expected to "maintain at January level as market conditions are unchanged."
The association last month predicted that Malaysia's vehicle sales would fall 12.4 percent in 2009 due to a slowing economy and poor consumer sentiment amid the global economic slump.
The industry group forecast sales at 480,000 units for 2009, down 12.5% on 2008.
The government is implementing a MYR 7 billion stimulus package in the first quarter to help reduce the risks of a recession. A second stimulus package will be made available later in the year.
However, the recent slowdown in vehicle sales is expected to steepen significantly in the next few quarters.
Affin Securities expects sales to contract by 20%, citing the high levels of sales activity in the previous year, a lack of forthcoming mass-market models and the potential for further credit tightening as reasons to be more bearish.