New vehicle sales in Malaysia fell by 15.3% year-on-year in March to 53,583 units, compared with a record high of 63,265 units a year earlier, according to the Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA ).

The fall reflects the adoption of tougher lending rules by banks and new administrative procedures that are said to have slowed the registration process of new vehicles.

Sales of passenger vehicles fell by 16.6% to 47,106 units, while commercial vehicle sales were down by 4.5% at 6,477 units.

Cumulative sales for the first quarter of 2012 were down by 12.5% at 138,544 units.