Sales of vehicles in Malaysia in February were down 3% over the previous month, according to a trade body, with the year-on-year comparisons also down. March’s sales are expected to show an improvement, however.

According to the Malaysian Automotive Association, sales reached 36,675 units in February, down 1,126 units from January. Apart from weak consumer confidence, sales were held back by stringent evaluation of applications for hire purchase loans, the association said.

Sales of light commercial vehicles were up, however, due to deliveries of back orders.

Data showed that 33,281 passenger vehicles were sold, down 6% from the 35,437 a year ago. However, commercial vehicles saw a 9.8% increase in sales to 3,394 from 3,090 a year ago.

“Sales volume for March is expected to be slightly better than February due to slightly improved consumers’ confidence and longer working month,” the association said.