Malaysia's new vehicle market drifted lower in August, by just over 1% to 51,720 units from 52,312 units a year earlier, according to data released by the Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA).

This followed a volatile few months for the market with demand disrupted by the annual Hari Raya Muslim holidays – which this year fell in June.

The economy strengthened significantly in the first half of the year with GDP growth estimated at 5.5% compared with 4.5% in the fourth quarter of 2016.

Sales of passenger vehicles amounted to 46,010 units last month with commercial vehicles accounted for the remaining 5,710 units.

In the first eight months of the year, total vehicle sales increased by 3.9% to 384,730 units from 370,152 sales in the same period of last year.

Vehicle production was slightly higher at 43,688 units in August but was down 0.7% to 342,958 units year to date.