New vehicle sales in Malaysia increased by 32.8% to 50,622 units in January, compared with depressed year-earlier volumes of 38,107 units, according to data released by the Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA).

Passenger car sales rose by 32.2% to 45,973 units, supported by improving consumer sentiment, higher production volumes and the launch of new models, according to the association. Commercial vehicle sales also improved significantly last month, with volumes rising by 33.7% year-on-year to 4,649 units, as economic activity picked up.

Overall vehicle production rose by 37% to 51,296 units in January, compared with 37,427 units a year earlier, of which 46,172 were passenger cars and 5,124 were commercial vehicles.

The MAA said it expects sales in February to drop month-on-month due to the Lunar New Year holidays and the shorter calendar month.

Tony Pugliese