Malaysia's new vehicle market continued to fall sharply in July, by almost 26% to 50,853 units compared with strong year-earlier sales of 68,466 units, according to registration data released by the Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA).

This follows a 34% year-on-year drop in June, which was due mainly to the annual Hari Raya holidays which come one month earlier every year. Last year's sales were also lifted by a three-month sales tax holiday introduced at the beginning of June following the election of Mahathir Mohamed in May last year.

Sales of passenger vehicles fell by close to 25% to 46,189 units in July from 61,212 units a year earlier, while commercial vehicles sales were down by almost 36% at4,664 units from 7,254 units.

Total vehicle sales in the first seven months of the year were 3% lower at 347,187 units from 358,065 units previously, with passenger vehicle sales falling by 1.6% to 317,064 units and commercial vehicle sales down by over 16% at 30,123 units.

Proton's reported a 46.5% increase in total vehicle sales to 52,108 units in the seven-month period from 35,561 units, while the country's second national car company Perodua has yet to release its July sales performance data.

Total vehicle production in the country was just slightly lower in the seven-month period, by 0.6% at 333,940 units from 336,111 units in the same period of last year.