Vehicle sales jumped 318-fold in April

MAA data shows passenger vehicles sales increased to 52,628 units last month compared to 133 last year

by ASILA JALIL & RAHIMI YUNUS / pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

VEHICLE sales surged 381 times year-on-year to 57,912 units in April 2021 compared to only 152 in the same month last year during the Movement Control Order (MCO).

Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) data showed passenger vehicle (PV) sales increased to 52,628 units last month compared to 133 last year.

The commercial vehicle (CV) segment sold 5,284 units in April compared to 19 a year ago.

However, in April, the total industry volume (TIV) was lower from 63,878 units in March due to movement restrictions in several states during the period.

As of April, TIV stood at 199,556 units versus 105,424 units in the same period last year.

“Sales volume for April 2021 was 12.3% lower than March 2021 due to the Conditional MCO in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Johor, Penang, Kelantan and Sarawak,” MAA said in a statement yesterday.

The association also attributed the lower TIV to computer chip shortages, a global situation that also impacted sales of some local makes.

On production, MAA said 51,390 units were produced last month compared to 275 in April last year.

A total of 47,764 units produced were PVs, while 3,626 units were CVs. The total production volume stood at 198,476 units as of April, comprising 183,353 PVs and 15,123 CVs.

MAA expects TIV in May 2021 to be lower than last month due to the implementation of MCO 3.0 that would affect businesses and traffic into showrooms.

It added that the month also saw a shorter working month due to the Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebration.

At the same time, chip shortfall would continue to affect sales of some brands.

Global semiconductor shortages are expected to cost automakers 3.8 million units in loss production, or 5% of estimated annual sales in 2021, said Fitch Ratings.

The credit rating agency said automotive demand is strong and manufacturers are prioritising the most lucrative models to offset the impact of lost production on their cashflow.

“We do not expect rating pressures resulting from these shortages, unless their scale increases materially and demand weakens,”

Fitch said in a note on Tuesday. It said the chip shortages is likely to last longer and its impact will be greater than anticipated, exacerbated by a fire at the Renesas Electronics Corp factory in Japan in

March. The report further said the chip shortfall would cause automakers to suffer larger production losses, estimated now at about 3.8 million units, according to AutoForecast Solutions.

Fitch said many automakers expect to face the hardest pressures in the second quarter of 2021.

Still, shortages should gradually ease in the second half of the year and 2022, helped by the Renesas plant returning online by the end of May and operating at full capacity in early July.

It added that there should be increased supplies from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd and other chipmakers.

The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) recently reported that carmakers in Malaysia expect the global chip crunch to continue impacting domestic production for at least the next two to three months at a time of brisk sales driven by the Sales and Services Tax exemption.

Industry players who spoke to TMR indicated the chip shortage could worsen order backlogs, which are already stretched to four months waiting time for certain models.

Local carmakers are sourcing almost 100% of their chips from overseas suppliers in Europe and Japan, in particular.