The Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) has revealed its market review for the first half of 2018, and both sales and production numbers are up compared to the corresponding period last year, although not by much in overall terms.

The total industry volume (TIV) for the first six months of the year amounted to 289,714 units, of which 261,043 units were passenger vehicles and 28,671 units were commercial vehicles. This represents an increase of 1.85% from the 284,453 units for 1H 2017 (255,748 passenger vehicles, 28,705 units commercial).

With the exception of April and June, the year-on-year vehicles sales trend was lower in 1H 2018 compared to the same point last year. Following the announcement on May 16 of the goods and services tax (GST) being zero-rated as of June 1, it was no surprise to see low numbers for May.

As expected, things swung back in June, with soaring demand for vehicles as a result of GST being removed from the equation making the month the highest recorded during 1H 2018. Indeed, the 64,502 units managed last month (up 50.1% from the 42,983 units in May) is also the only time that the monthly TIV has exceeded the 60,000 mark in history.

In the passenger vehicles category, sales of passenger cars recorded 192,772 units in 1H 2018, an improvement of 4.1%, or 7,518 units over the the same period in 2017. The 4×4/SUV sub-segment also recorded growth, the 36,179 units sold so far this year a 29.5% increase from the 27,935 units managed in the first six months of last year.

Elsewhere, it looks like the love affair with MPVs may be fading, if the sales figures are anything to go by – 30,694 units have been sold this year, which is 10,397 units – or 25.3% – less than 1H 2017.

As for production, year-to-date numbers are 280,947 units, with 261,324 units being passenger vehicles and 19,623 units being commercial units. This is a 10% hike from that managed in the first six months of 2017. Production volumes are expected to go at full steam, at least until August, to keep up with the surge in demand.

The association also provided an outlook for the second half of 2018, for which it is revising its TIV forecast of 590,000 units for 2018 – which it made in January – to 585,000 units, a drop of 5,000 units.

The revision is based on a number of economic and environmental factors that are expected to come into play, and these include the reintroduction of the sales and services tax (SST) in September – this is anticipated to have an impact on consumers’ spending, particularly towards the last quarter of the year. The 1H 2018 TIV numbers, equivalent to 49.1% of the original forecast, likely also played a part in the revised projection.

It however said that rosier days are expected, with TIV growth at a rate of more than two percent per year expected over the course of the next four years – it forecasts that in 2019, TIV will reach 596,700 units and then climbing past the 600k mark the following year to hit 609,200 units. The forecast for 2021 is 622,650 units, and by 2022 the TIV is expected to reach 637,000 units.

What do you think of the forecast numbers? As usual, share your thoughts with us in the comments section.