The Malaysian new vehicle market declined by 12% to 42,623 units in January from 48,450 units in the same month of last year, according to registration data released by the Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA).

Sales last month were affected by the shorter working month due to the Lunar New Year holidays as well as some uncertainty relating to the outbreak of the COVID19 coronavirus.

Vehicle production in the country fell by 16.6% to 45,416 units last month from 54,446 units a year earlier.

The association said some additional market uncertainty was created by the government's new excise duty policy, adding "issues pertaining to complete knocked down (CKD) vehicle excise duty valuations have been resolved".

It expects February sales to be better compared with January.

The government announced at the end of last week a new National Automotive Policy (NAP 2020) setting out some very ambitious long term targets for the local automotive industry.

It expects the local vehicle market to more than double to 1.22m units by 2030 and exports to reach 250,000 units.