New vehicle sales in Malaysia rose by 16.8% to 48,706 units in April, compared with 41,686 a year earlier, according to the Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA).

Cumulative sales for the first four months of 2010 are up by 21% at 196,121 units from 162,075 units a year.
The association said buyers brought purchases forward to lock in cheap finance deals ahead of anticipated hikes in interest rates. Sales of passenger cars in April rose by 15.5% to 43,661 units, from 37,810 units, while commercial vehicle sales were up by over 30% to 5,045 units – reflecting an acceleration in economic growth.
The association expects sales volumes in May to be similar to April, despite the recent interest rate hike, although sales growth is expected to moderate later in the year.
Vehicle production in April increased by 25.5% to 49,666 units, from 39,574 units a year earlier, and similar growth was reported for the first four months of the year, from 153,583 to 192,813 units.
Tony Pugliese