The Malaysian automotive industry has faced its fair share of obvious difficulties in 2015. The implementation of the GST tax and weakening ringgit were among the contributing factors to a relatively slow-moving year. However, official data still shows that we’ve still had our best year yet, with the highest ever Total Industry Volume (TIV) recorded.

As reported yesterday, a total of of 666,674 vehicles across all brands were sold in 2015. It was a marginal 0.03% (187 units) improvement over the previous year’s figures. It was also pointed out yesterday that 2015’s TIV figures were in fact rescued by a late sales surge in the year.

Undeniably, the GST implementation had some buyers spooked into stranger and more reserved buying habits. Several auto brands were forced to dig deep and dish out major discounts and promotions as they progressed through the year.

That said, it is also clear that some brands have worked with the conditions better than others. With careful planning, some, such as Mercedes-Benz Malaysia, flourished beyond expectations. Others, not so much – Peugeot, Kia, Hyundai and Mitsubishi, for example, slumped significantly in 2015.

The year’s biggest winners are, without question, Perodua and Honda. Already on a high in 2014 (195,579 units sold), with its Axia and Myvi doing as well as ever, Perodua managed to overcome the odds and achieve a 9.1% (17,728 units) improvement in 2015.

Likewise, Honda achieved its goals of becoming the top-performing non-national brand in the country with a 22.5% (17,407) sales increase against 2014’s results. Not surprisingly, the Honda HR-V, City and Jazz led the company’s charge to topple arch-rivals Toyota.

Despite the introduction of its tax-exempted Camry Hybrid and its refreshed Camry line-up, Toyota’s figures stooped by 8.1%, moving 8,275 units less than it did the year before. The Japanese car maker’s total figures for 2015 showed that it was just 1,142 vehicles behind third-placed Honda, which sold 93,760 vehicles.

Mazda was another major winner in 2015, marking a 25.9% improvement against the year before. It racked up a total of 14,325 units sold last year, largely thanks to the new Mazda 2 and reigning CX-5.

Still, Bermaz couldn’t do enough to worry Nissan, which despite having a relatively quiet 2015, still managed to improve on its previous year’s figures by 1.9 % (883 units). Thanks to a charged led by its new X-Trail and updated Serena S-Hybrid, ETCM racked up a total of 47,235 units sold in the year.

Needless to say, Mercedes-Benz Malaysia ruled the premium segment in 2015, selling a total of 11,034 units in the year, and marking a 54.7% improvement against its performance in 2014. BMW managed to move a total of 7,515 units in 2015 (-3.8%), while Lexus and Audi’s combined figures (2,101 + 1,592 = 3,693) amounted to not even half of the Bavarian brand’s sum.

The year also saw a lot of brands nose dive to poorer performances against their previous year’s figures. Volkswagen, for example, endured a 28.2% performance slump to sell just 6,405 units in the year, despite its considerable discounts and promotional strategies.

Kia was another big loser, moving less than half of what it managed to in 2014, with just 4,674 units sold in 2015. Mitsubishi, despite the arrival of its new Triton, took a 22.7% performance hit and was almost overthrown by Mercedes-Benz in the overall rankings – just 42 units separate the Japanese brand from the German automaker. Chevrolet and Peugeot also took hard hits in the year, facing 46.9% and 45.7% slumps.