As we head into the final stretch of 2019, time to find out how the automotive industry has fared in the first three quarters of the year, with the monthly sales data as released by the Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) providing the necessary figures as to how well each brand has been faring so far in relation to the corresponding period in 2018.

The year-to-date total industry volume (TIV) up to September is slightly behind that of 2018, down by 2.63% (or 11,864 units), with 442,991 vehicles delivered in the first nine months of this year compared to 454,971 units managed in the same period last year. The current lag is understandable, given that car sales spiked considerably for many brands last year during the three-month, zero-rated GST tax holiday from June to August.

No surprises as to the market leader, which continues to be Perodua. Indeed, the automaker’s performance in the nine months this year is ahead of that from last year, with the 178,754 units it has managed up to Q3 2019 a 6.27% increase over the 168,203 units it achieved last year. Its market share of 40.4% is up from 37% in 2018.

In terms of gains, however, it is Proton that has made the most ground – the national automaker has sold 69,920 units so far this year, and that’s a 42.02% improvement over the 49,233 units sold during the same period in 2018.

It’s all good enough to push it into second place in the overall standings and improve its market share to 15.8% from 10.8% previously, but the tussle for the spot with Honda (-18.51%) still remains close, and the dust probably won’t settle until the year is out.

Only four passenger car brands were in the green into Q3, Volvo (+29.38%) and Renault (+14.58%) being the other two. Elsewhere, the report card was less rosy for everyone, with the likes of Toyota (-9.57%), Nissan (-24.39%), Mazda (-19.01%), Volkswagen (-28.23%), Kia (-28.68%), Subaru (-51.46%) and Hyundai (-29.84%) all seeing a drop in sales performance this year.

In the premium segment, less cheer this year too for its players, save Volvo. Despite the positive growth, the Swedish brand is still a universe away from the two German brands competing for top spot. The fight between Mercedes (-25.78%) and BMW (-18.05%) is closer than it has been for a while now, so it’s anyone’s guess who will emerge as champ at year end.