Malaysia’s new vehicle market was largely unchanged in June, with sales falling just slightly to 57,358 units compared with 57,436 in the same month of last year, according to data released by the Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA).

Cumulative six month sales were down by 14.5% at 275,459 units from 322,254 units in the same period of last year, reflecting a sharp slowdown in the country’s domestic economic growth and weak exports.

First half passenger car sales were down by 14.7% at 244,357 units while commercial vehicle sales fell by 12.7% to 31,102 units. 

The association has revised dramatically down its full year forecast for the overall market, from 650,000 units in January to 580,000 units, in view of the sharp first half decline.

With economic growth slowing to 4.2% in the first quarter of 2016, from 5% in the whole of 2015 and 6% in 2014, the market certainly looks saturated at these levels. The Malaysian central bank cut its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points to 3.0% to help stimulate domestic demand and further cuts are likely in the near future.

Perodua total sales were down by 10% at 97,700 units in the first six months of the year, according to separate local sources, but Indonesia’s second national car company hopes the launch of the new Bezza compact sedan this week will help steady its second half performance. 

The Bezza is produced at the Serendah plant near the city of Rawang, with a reported 95% local content, and competes directly with the Proton Saga and Persona. Perodua expects to sell 38,000 units by the end of 2016, with prices ranging between MYR37,000-MYR51,000 (US$9,150-US$12,570) for the one- and 1.3-litre models.

See also: Daihatsu unveils new small sedan for Malaysia