March vehicle sales rise 37% to 54,776

Vehicles sales reached 65,551 units in August 2018, the last month before the return of the SST in September

By AFIQ AZIZ / Pic By ISMAIL CHE RUS

Vehicles sales jumped 37% in March compared to the month before as Malaysians returned to purchase cars and trucks, reaching the highest level since the end of the zero-rated Goods and Services Tax at the end in August 2018.

Vehicles sales reached 65,551 units in August 2018, the last month before the return of the Sales and Services Tax (SST) in September last year, which saw deliveries plummeted to 31,241 units.

Deliveries have failed to break the 50,000 level since the introduction of taxes on car purchases. August 2018 sales were 65,551 units compared to 68,465 units in July 2018.

Sales of passenger and commercial vehicles rose to 54,776 units in March this year compared to 48,450 (January) and 39,838 (February).

The Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) said the increase in sales was supported by longer working month and rush deliveries by carmakers who were anxious to close their financial year ending March 31.

Sales of new vehicles have also increased by 9.6% month-on-month, from 49,987 units in 2018 to 54,776 in 2019.

Sales for passenger vehicles, which rose by 12.6% to 50,101 cars sold in last month, compared to only 44,488 units in March last year.

It translates to 8.3% increase or 10,054 units to 131,114 cars purchased year-to-date (YTD), compared to 121,060 units the same period last year.

In total, 143,064 units were registered YTD, a 5.9% increase compared to 135,110 units in the corresponding period in 2018.

Meanwhile, automotive production dropped slightly, with 49,631 vehicles manufactured last month compared to 49,796 units in March 2018.

Accumulatively, vehicle production recorded 7.6% fall to 144,383 compared to 156,214 vehicles manufactured in the same quarter last year.

Production and sales of commercial vehicles grew slower in the first quarter this year (1Q19) as both declined by 4.5% and 14.9% respectively.

MAA projected a maintained growth sales volume this month supported by the continuation of promotional campaigns by carmakers.

Proton has been one of the star brand this year, posting 6,145 vehicles registered in March or a 46.1% increase compared to the corresponding month a year ago.

For 1Q19, Proton registered 23,718 cars with its latest SUV X70, driving the carmaker’s market share.