Malaysia's new vehicle market expanded by 8.7% to 48,450 units in January from 44,560 units in the same month of last year, according to registration data released by the Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA).

The market rebounded from a weak fourth quarter of 2018, when sales were affected by sluggish economic growth and a sales tax holiday which pulled vehicle purchases forward into the third quarter. GDP growth came in at 4.7% last year, down from 5.9% in 2017.

Sales of passenger vehicles rose by close to 11% to 44,264 units last month from a weak 39,967 units a year-earlier, lifted by the recent launch of new models by Proton and Perodua, while commercial vehicle sales fell by almost 9% to 4,186 units from 4,593 units.

Proton said it sold 7,007 vehicles in Malaysia last month compared with 4,783 units a year earlier, including 2,777 units of its new Geely-based X70 SUV which it began to deliver in December.

Perodua said its sales increased by 13.6% year-on-year to 20,100 units last month, with its new Aruz SUV accounting for 1,025 units. It plans to lift monthly sales of its new model, which went on sales in January, to around 2,500 units and has set a year-end cumulative sales target of 31,200 units.