by HARIZAH KAMEL/ pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
VEHICLE sales in January decreased by 12% to 42,623 units compared to 48,450 units achieved in the same month last year, the Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) data revealed.
The passenger vehicle (PV) segment dropped by 12% to 39,127 from 44,264 units, while the commercial vehicle segment was also reduced by 16% at 3,496 from 4,186 in the same month in 2019.
Sales volume in January 2020 was 5,827 units or 12% lesser compared to the similar corresponding month last year and 22% or 12,219 units lower than December 2019.
On the production side, carmakers produced 45,416 units in January as opposed to 54,446 units in the same month last year.
MAA stated that the short working month due to the Chinese New Year festive holidays, as well as market uncertainty following the announcement of the implementation of new excise duty regulations has contributed to the lower sales in January.
Last month, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said the government is yet to decide on the revised rate of excise duty for locally assembled vehicles as the Ministry of Finance is still discussing the matter with other ministries and industry stakeholders.
This is to ensure that any necessary changes to the duty will abide by the World Trade Organisation regulations.
Should there be a raise in the duty, the government will implement it in stages and not abruptly, said Lim.
The local automotive industry grew 1% to 604,287 units sold last year from 598,598 units registered in 2018, based on MAA data.
The increase in total industry volume (TIV) last year was contributed by the PV segment, which increased by 3.2% or 17,080 units to 550,179 from 533,099 in 2018.
In the PV category, cars continued to be the biggest contributor with a 69.4% share, followed by 4WD/SUVs (22.6%), MPVs (7.4%) and window vans (0.5%).
However, the commercial vehicle segment slid 17.4% year-on-year to 54,108 units from 65,499 in 2018 due to economic slowdown and companies cutting back on capital expenditure.
Despite the challenging market, the forecast for 2019 marked a four-year high since the industry recorded a TIV of 666,677 in 2015.
Following the 2015 forecast, the TIV fell below the 600,000 mark to 580,085 (2016), 576,625 (2017) and 598,598 (2018).
MAA said sales volume in February 2020 is expected to be slightly better than January if issues pertaining to completely knocked-down vehicles excise duty valuation have been resolved.