After a record 2022, Malaysia sales continued to rise in January

New vehicle sales in Malaysia rose by 19% to 49,461 units in January 2023 from 41,533 units a year earlier, according to registration data released by the Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA).

This follows a record year for the market in 2022, when new registrations surged by 42% to 720,658 units after two years of decline due to the Covid pandemic. The market continues to be driven higher by a sharp rebound in economic activity and government stimulus policies including the year-long suspension of the vehicle sales tax which was withdrawn at the end of last June. Buyers can still enjoy tax-free deliveries of vehicles purchased before the deadline until the end of March 2023.

The association said sales last month were held back by fewer working days due to the early Lunar New Year holiday while some brands were also still affected by shortages of semiconductors. Passenger vehicle sales rose by over 27% to 43,927 units last month from 34,570 units, while commercial vehicle sales fell by 21% to 5,534 units from 6,963 units. Total vehicle production in the country increased by over 36% to 58,527 units from 42,961 units.

Market leader Perodua’s sales rose by 23% to 21,449 units in January, underpinned by the popular models such as the Bezza, Myvi and Axia and the recent launch the new Alza. The company said it is targeting 314,000 vehicle sales and production of 330,000 units, helped by the launch of the new 1.0L Axia small car earlier this month.

Proton’s global sales rebounded by 162% to 11,681 units in January from weak year-earlier volumes, when output was affected by localised flooding and also by an acute shortage of semiconductors. The Saga was its best-selling model last month with 4,788 registrations

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, followed by the Geely-based X50 compact SUV with 2,992 units.

UMW Toyota reported a 10% sales decline to 6,786 units last month, with the locally assembled Corolla Cross Hybrid and the Hilux pickup truck among its best-selling models. The company said it plans to launch a second hybrid model and possibly a new BEV later this year.

The MAA last month said it expected the overall vehicle market to decline by 10% to 650,000 units in 2023 after record sales in 2022, reflecting the withdrawal of sales incentives and weaker overall demand.