Vehicle sales in Malaysia for the month of August 2016 was up 23.2% from a poor July, but the year-to-date total of 370,242 units is down 14.8% compared to the same period in 2015. The car market may not be sizzling hot this year, but it’s not a total collapse either (as some pessimists might lead you to believe), and most brands are chugging along though this leaner period.

The top five positions remain the same, and the leaderboard reads Perodua, Honda, Toyota, Proton and Nissan. It’s the same order, whether for August 2016 or year-to-date Jan-Aug 2016.

Malaysia’s market leader for the past decade, Perodua, gained 40.5% from July to extend its unassailable lead thanks to the new Bezza, its first ever sedan. Proton, in fourth behind the Japanese giants, gained 14.6%. It should be awhile more before the effect of the new Persona (launched in late August) and new Saga (launched yesterday) translates to numbers.

Honda is still the non-national leader by some margin, but previous foreign brand champ Toyota had an encouraging August with a 30.5% gain. Other top performers in August were Mazda +50.4%, Volkswagen +35% and Renault with a big 118.4% jump. It wasn’t such a good month for Audi (-21.6%) and Subaru (-35.9%).

We’re approaching the final quarter of the year. Never mind catching Perodua, but will Proton finish the year strong enough to retake the No.2 spot ahead of the foreign makes? With the Perdana, Persona and Saga all introduced, there’s one more launch left in the locker for Proton – the rebadged Suzuki Ertiga MPV.


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