The Malaysian automotive industry has kicked off the new year in a positive manner, according to sales data from the Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA). It will need to, if it is to beat challenging market conditions and meet MAA’s sales target of a round 600,000 units in 2019 – an increase of 0.21% from last year’s sales.

In all, a total of 48,450 vehicles were sold in January, a modest 282-unit increase from the 48,188 units that changed hands in December. Not much, but it’s something – and there’s better news for a number of brands on the list (particularly local ones) as you delve deeper.

Market leader Perodua saw a 9.4% increase in sales, jumping 1,722 units from 18,402 to 20,124. That’s largely due to sales of the new Aruz SUV, over 1,000 of which were registered on the last day of January. Honda, on the other hand, had its sales drop 6.3% from 8,021 units to 7,515.

Just behind is Proton, which got a healthy leg up last month, with sales surging some 22.6% to 6,862 units – up from 5,598 the month before. This 1,270-unit increase was undoubtedly buoyed by the X70 SUV, with a total of 2,777 units finding homes in January. Keeping its fourth place, Toyota’s sales dropped 27.3% from 4,310 units to 3,133, while perennial fifth-placer Nissan saw a 30% decline from 2,870 units to 2,008.

In the premium sector, Mercedes-Benz maintains its commanding lead, even though sales have dipped by 5.6% to 1,063 units, whereas BMW registered a far larger 21.3% decrease to 800 units. Elsewhere it’s been a good month for Volkswagen (up a massive 143.2%, but only to 586 units), Hyundai (+45.9%) and Volvo (+28.6%), but not so good for Isuzu (-45.5%) and Lexus (-27.1%). Also, this edition marks the disappearance of Audi, which is no longer a member of MAA.

Click on the table below to view a larger version.