MAA cuts forecast as June vehicle sales plummet 96%

Consumer sentiment would remain weak on the back of economic uncertainty brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, says president

by SHAFIQQUL ALIFF / pic by TMR FILE

MALAYSIAN automotive sector saw vehicle sales plunged 96% in June to 1,921 units compared to 47,204 registered in May 2021, mainly due to halted sales operations in many of the states.

Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) president Datuk Aishah Ahmad (picture)  said the vehicles sold last month were units of spill-over registrations from end-May.

Year-to-date, vehicle sales volume for six months climbed 44% year-on-year to 249,129 units from 173,545 units in the same period last year, attributable to the low-base effect in the first quarter of 2020 when sales were disrupted by the Movement Control Order (MCO).

MAA has slashed its 2021 total industry volume (TIV) forecast by 12.3% to 500,000 units from 570,000 units earlier due to disruptions caused by the prolonged lockdown.

The 500,000 units projection would translate into a 5.6% lower TIV this year, or 29,434 units, compared to 529,434 units registered last year.

Aishah said consumer sentiment would remain weak on the back of economic uncertainty brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.

At present, she said the automotive sector is not listed as an essential economic activity and only motor vehicle workshops are allowed to operate.

“We do not know when we will be allowed to open our showrooms and plants to produce the vehicles for completely knocked-down cars. These are our worries.

“A lot of small dealers are already very tight in terms of cashflow and if this continues, they have to close shop or retrench people,” she said in a media briefing yesterday.

Aishah said the TIV forecast cut was also derived after considering the government’s decision to only allow automobile factories, distribution centres and showrooms to open in Phase 3 of the National Recovery Plan (NRP).

With no sales and production, she said the impact would spill over to the next few months.

Aishah said uncertainty caused by the pandemic and the possibility of re-imposition of Covid-19 containment measures might dampen the economic growth and the demand for new motor vehicles.

MAA had appealed to the government to allow workshops and distribution centres to operate immediately during the Enhanced MCO (EMCO), as well as Phases 1 and 2 of the NRP.

The whole supply chain in the automotive sector has been seriously affected by the complete shutdown in EMCO states such as Selangor and Kuala Lumpur.

Phase 3 of the country’s Covid-19 exit plan will commence when 40% of the population has been vaccinated, targeted by October.