Malaysia's new vehicle market fell by 1.8% to 39,838 units in February from 40,563 units in the same month of last year, according to registration data released by the Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA).

This follows strong growth in January, of close to 9%, as the market rebounded from a weak fourth quarter of 2018, when sales were affected by sluggish economic growth, and a sales tax 'holiday' which pulled vehicle purchases forward into the third quarter.

Vehicle sales in the first two months of 2019 were up by 3.7% at 88,288 units from 85,123 units in the same period a year earlier, driven mainly by strong consumer demand for passenger vehicles which increased by 5.8% to 81,013 units in the two-month period from 76,572 units previously.

Commercial vehicle sales fell by 22% to 3,089 units in February and by almost 15% to 7,275 units year-to-date from 8,551 units.

Vehicle production in the country fell by almost 10% to 94,752 units in the first two months of the year.