Malaysia's new vehicle market expanded by 12% to 50,600 units in May compared with year earlier sales of 45,108 units, according to data released by the Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA).

The market looks to have stabilised after declining by 13% to 580,123 units in 2016, following six years of continuous growth. Economic growth in the country rebounded strongly in the first quarter of the year, to 5.6% from 4.5% in the fourth quarter of 2016, on stronger domestic consumption and export growth.

The market last month was lifted also by seasonal factors, with demand rising ahead of the annual Hari Raya holidays, and aggressive marketing campaigns.

Total vehicle sales in the first five months of the year increased by 7.4% to 234,186 units, from weak year-earlier sales of 218,121 units. 

Vehicle production was down slightly at 47,474 units in May but was just higher at 223,139 units in the first five months of the year. 

The association expects May's sales activity levels to continue in June due to intensive marketing by distributors and dealers.