Malaysia's new vehicle market surged by 25.5% to 68,836 units in December 2020 from 54,842 units in the same month of the previous year, based on registration data released by the Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA).

The vehicle market continued to recover from a 41% decline in the first half of the year, including a 55% drop in the second quarter after the government imposed a strict Movement Control Order (MCO) in March to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Buyers continued to enjoy the sales tax holiday on passenger vehicle introduced by the government in June to provide support for the country's automotive industry. The tax exemption was due to expire at the end of 2020 but has been extended until the end of June 2021 to provide further support for the local economy.

New models, particularly from Proton, have also helped attract buyers to the market, along with aggressive promotional campaigns by dealers and attractive finance packages following sharp interest rate cuts by the central bank last year.

Over the full year, total new vehicle sales were down by 12.4% at 529,434 units, from 604,281 units in 2019, with passenger vehicles falling by 12.6% to 480,965 and commercial vehicles down by 10.4% at 48,469 units.

Perodua was by far the best selling vehicle brand in the country with sales down by just 8.4% at 220,154 units last year the Myvi, Axia and Bezza were its best-selling models.

Proton's sales increased by 8.8% to 109,716 vehicles in 2020 with sales lifted in the final quarter by the launch of the X50 small SUV and recent revisions to the larger X70 model.

Honda continued to lead the non-national vehicle segment, albeit with sales falling by over 29% to 60,469 units last year, with the City compact sedan still its best-selling model.

Toyota made up significant ground, with sales rising by 13% to 59,320 units in 2020 thanks to strong demand for the Vios and Yaris passenger cars and the Hilux pickup truck.