The Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) has released full-year sales figures for 2017, and we’ll have our usual sales breakdown by brand soon. In the meantime, we’re covering total sales for December first, and it hasn’t been a good month for the industry in general.

Yes, with a total of 54,729 vehicles sold, last month’s sales were 11.3% or 5,545 units higher than those of November, which MAA attributed to year-end sales promotions and incentives provided by car companies to meet their year-end targets.

Look closely, however, and you’ll notice that the figure for December 2017 was actually down 15.6% or a whole 10,104 units compared to the same period in 2016. Floods in certain parts of Peninsular Malaysia were blamed for the sales slump, as were the promotions that were being offered much earlier in the year, which MAA deemed “excessive.”

All this led to a total sales volume (TIV) that stumbled slightly as the year ended – a grand total of 576,635 vehicles were sold in 2017, down 0.6% compared to 2016’s TIV of 580,085 vehicles. This was despite the fact that the industry’s performance last year had hitherto been ahead of 2016’s by a small margin, as recently as November.

And January isn’t expected to be any better – in fact, MAA expects sales this month to be lower than in December, due to the end of year-end promotions and the usual stringent hire purchase loan approvals.