Malaysian new vehicle sales continued to rise in August 2023, by 6% to 71,745 units from 67,609 units a year earlier, according to the Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA).

The market continued to be driven by strong domestic economic growth, despite sharp interest rate hikes by the central bank over the last year and the recent end of government purchasing incentives. Demand this year has been supported by new model launches and an easing of supply chain bottlenecks after last year’s component shortages.

The MAA said: “In volume terms, this was the second highest monthly total industry volume (TIV) on record. It was also the second time this year monthly sales exceeded 70,000 units.”

The highest monthly new registrations were recorded in March 2023 at 78,849 units.

In the first eight months of the year, the market was up 12% at 501,552 units from 449,289 last year with passenger vehicle sales rising 13% to 449,233 units while commercial vehicle sales were just 4% higher at 52,319.

Total vehicle production increased 13% to 497,309 units.

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Last July, the MAA revised up its full year domestic market forecast to 725,000 units, a slight increase on last year’s record 720,658, reflecting a stronger than expected domestic economy.

Proton global sales fell 12% to 13,955 units in August but were still up 20% to 104,602 YTD including 1,400 exports. The Saga remained the best selling model with 45,836 deliveries so far in 2023, followed by the Geely based X50 compact SUV at 22,750. The company launched its first hybrid last May, the also Geely based X90 SUV, and said it planned to launch “at least” one locally made new energy vehicle (NEV) model per year starting with a full EV later this year.

UMW Toyota reported a 9% sales increase to 67,283 units YTD, lifted by the launch of the redesigned Vios compact sedan in March and strong demand for Corolla Cross and Hilux.

The company launched the Innova Zenith in June which will also be available as a hybrid. Toyota began taking orders for the new Alphard minibus last month and plans to launch the BZ4X battery powered SUV later this year.