With the release of the complete data for Malaysian vehicle sales in 2017 by the Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) earlier today, it’s time for an annual report on how the industry and brands fared last year. It had been promising, and even up to November the total industry volume (TIV) for 2017 remained on course to best that achieved in 2016, even if just by a shade.

However, this didn’t come to be – despite continued improvement in sales during the final month of the year, the numbers in December ended up being 15.6% (or 10,104 units) less than that managed in the corresponding period in 2016, and the final TIV total of 576,635 vehicles for 2017 was lower by 0.6% than the 2016 TIV, which was 580,085 units.

The lacklustre finish in December was attributed to floods in certain parts of Peninsular Malaysia as well as on promotions offered much earlier in the year, which the MAA deemed “excessive.” Whatever the case may be, the end result is that it’s the second year running that the TIV has dipped below the 600,000 unit mark since 2009.

Where individual brands are concerned, there was no change in ranking for the top five players from the previous year. Perodua continued its position at the top – even though sales dipped marginally by 1.1% to 204,887 units from the 207,110 units managed in 2016, the company said it exceeded its sales target for the year.

Its market share dropped from 35.7% to 35.5% – essentially, every two out of five passenger cars sold in the country last year was a Perodua model. The introduction of the new Myvi should cement things further this year for the automaker, which has targeted a 209,000 sales target for 2018.

Honda climbed to second spot in 2016, and last year, the gains continued in spectacular fashion – it passed the 100,000 mark for sales in a calendar year, finishing 2017 with 109,511 units sold, 19.3% better than the 91,830 vehicles managed in 2016. Introductions last year included the Accord facelift, City Hybrid, Jazz Hybrid and fifth-gen CR-V, and its market share climbed to 19.0% from 15.8% of the previous year.

Proton sold fewer cars last year than it did in 2016 – it sold 70,991 vehicles last year compared to 72,290 the year before, a reduction of 1.8%, and market share also dipped slightly, dropping to 12.3% from the 12.5% it commanded in 2016. With Geely now in the picture (and products on the way), it shouldn’t be long before the national automaker gets going again.

Toyota remained fourth overall, and though its total volume increased last year by 9.0% to 69,462 units from the 63,757 in 2016, its market share also went up to 12.1% (2016, 11.0%). It retained its top position in the commercial vehicles sector, its 21,877 units sold last year giving it a 35.3% share of that particular arena.

Nissan rounds off the top five, but while there was no change in its ranking, its performance slumped in 2017. Sales dropped by 33.3% to 27,154 units from the 40,706 units in the previous year, and its overall market share slid to 4.7% from 7.0%.

Sales performance in the passenger (left) and commercial (right) vehicle sectors. Click to enlarge

The sixth most popular brand in the country was Mercedes-Benz, which climbed two spots from its 2016 position. The company – which introduced 17 models in 2017 – had another record year, its overall total of 12,344 units giving it a 2.7% increase from the 12,017 units sold in 2016. Isuzu, meanwhile, saw sales drop by 14.3% to 10,979 vehicles from 12,818 the year before. It however didn’t affect its market share, which remained at 1.9%.

It was a good year for BMW – sales went up by 18.0%, with 10,618 units shifted last year compared to 9,000 the year before. Correspondingly, its market share also climbed from 1.6% to 1.8%. Last week, we ran a story about the 2017 performance of premium brands in terms of sales, which fleshes out the numbers in greater detail.

Things were less rosy for Mazda and Mitsubishi. Mazda’s sales dropped by 22.1% last year, the company recording 9,730 units (2016, 12,493), and market share also slid to 1.7% from the 2.2% in 2016. As for Mitsubishi, it recorded 7,034 units last year, a 25.1% drop from the 9,395 units shifted in 2016.

Elsewhere, it was also a good year for the likes of Volkswagen and Subaru, which saw sales volume go up by 8.1% and 23.5% respectively.

Click on the table below to view an enlarged version.