February 2017 was a slow month for the auto industry, but that surprises no one, as the second month of the year is also the shortest work month, which means that less cars get sold. That’s how it is every year.
Last week, the Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) released production and sales figures for February, and it showed sales volume declining 5% (2,212 units) from January, which itself was 31% down compared to the year end rush of December 2016.
Short month aside, MAA said that market conditions, which aren’t the most rosy now, remain unchanged. However, both year-on-year and year-to-date figures are up by around 4,500 units, compared to in 2016.
Here’s the break down of who sold what. The gainers are Perodua (+16.9%), Nissan (+16.3%), Kia (+24.1%) and Volvo with a massive 192.3% jump from January figures. Doing less well than Jan are Honda (-10.5%), Proton (-15.4%), Toyota (-22.0%), Mazda (-42.8%) and Hyundai (-42.8%).
The top six on the year-to-date leaderboard are unchanged from Jan. Perodua tops the league ahead of leading non-national brand Honda, Proton, Toyota and Nissan. The gap between Honda and Proton has widened though, and as the top five are now in double figures, they’re creating a big gap from the chasing pack led by Nissan.
Mazda, which was seventh in Jan, has slipped to tenth in the league. Mercedes leads BMW in the premium segment. Mitsubishi is also out of the top ten.
The pacesetters have started 2017 on full throttle. Honda launched the BR-V seven-seater in the first week of the year, followed by the facelifted City earlier this month. Overall market leader Perodua launched the Axia facelift in January.
MAA predicts that sales volume will rise in March, as this is a longer month compared to February, and there’s also a continuation of attractive offers by car companies. After March, we’ll be able to see how the brands did for the first quarter of the year, a better barometer.