Malaysia's new vehicle market plunged by 34% to 42,526 units in June 2019 from 64,465 units in the same month last year, according to registration data released by the Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA).

Vehicle sales in the last two months were affected by the annual Hari Raya holidays which come a month earlier every year.

Last month's sales decline followed a 41% jump in May because consumers brought forward their purchases in time for the annual holidays.

The vehicle market was still 2.3% higher at 296,334 units in the first half of the year compared with 289,599 units in 2018 with consumer demand in the country still strong despite slowing GDP growth. Sales of passenger vehicles increased by 3.8% to 270,875 units in the six month period while commercial vehicle sales fell by more than 11% to 25,459 units.

The launch of new SUV models at the end of last year by the two main national car companies Proton and Perodua helped underpin the domestic passenger vehicle market so far this year. 

Proton reported a 61% sales rise in the first half of 2019 to 43,679 units with its share of passenger vehicle sales rising to over 16% in this period from a little over 10% a year earlier. The brand's performance has been significantly lifted by the recent launch of the Geely-based X70 SUV, as well as by the introduction of facelifted Persona and Iriz models in April.

Perodua, a joint venture with Daihatsu, reported a 4% sales rise to 121,800 units in the first half of the year, thanks in large part to strong demand for its Aruz SUV which was also launched at the end of 2018. The company raised its full year sales forecast to 235,000 units this month from 231,000 units announced earlier in the year.