Vehicle sales performance in Malaysia, 2019 vs 2018 – a look at last year’s biggest winners and losers

Vehicle sales performance in Malaysia, 2019 vs 2018 – a look at last year’s biggest winners and losers

The Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) released sales and production figures for 2019 yesterday, and we have here the final sales table for last year, showing us which brands gained and which marques lost in 2019.

Malaysia’s total industry volume (TIV) for 2019 was 604,287 units, which is an increase of 5,689 units, or about 1%, over the 598,598 units recorded in 2018. Passenger vehicles led the way with a jump of 17,080 units, or 3.2%, to 550,179 units in 2019. Commercial vehicle sales dipped 11,391 units, or 17.4%, to 54,108 units. With that, passenger vehicles now account for 91% of TIV, up from 89.1% in 2018.

By the way, this is the first time since 2015 (666,677 units) that TIV has breached the 600k mark. MAA is predicting a challenging year ahead with a flattish 2020 TIV forecast of 607,000 units, up 0.5%. Anyway, let’s have a closer look at 2019 sales according to brands.

Vehicle sales performance in Malaysia, 2019 vs 2018 – a look at last year’s biggest winners and losers

Leading the way is of course Perodua, which has been Malaysia’s market leader since 2006, when it overtook Proton for the first time and never looked back. The seemingly unstoppable force from Rawang set another annual sales record in 2019, shifting 240,341 cars, which is a 5.8% jump over the 227,243 units 2018, itself a record then. P2’s market share is now almost 40%.

Over to the new number two, Proton. The revitalised national brand jumped to the runners up spot from fourth in 2018, the only change in the top 10 standings. It was the biggest mover of last year too with 100,183 units sold – that’s an additional 35.439 units over 2018’s total, or a massive 54.7% jump. That’s from a full year of X70 sales and the revamped PIES (Persona, Iriz, Exora, Saga) range. This year, the CKD X70 and much-anticipated “X50” will debut, and the 2020 sales target is a whopping 32% higher.

P2’s growing dominance would suggest that Proton’s recent rise isn’t affecting its business. Indeed, Honda, the occupier of the No.2 spot for the past few years recorded the biggest drop in terms of volume – the Japanese carmaker chalked up 85,418 units in 2019, which is 16,864 units lower than in 2018. In percentage terms, it’s a 16.5% drop. Looks like the delay of launches caused by approval issues is starting to take its toll on the brand.

Despite that, Honda still managed to end the year as the non-national leader ahead of Toyota, which managed 69,091 units. That’s a 5.4% year-on-year increase. By the way, Perodua’s relentless march and Proton’s comeback means that the combined market share for national brands is now at 56.4%, up from 48.8% in 2018.

Away from the big four, it’s mostly red with double digit declines, but the biggest percentage drops come from Kia (-39.3%) and Subaru (-44.7%). In fact, of the mainstream brands, only Perodua, Proton, Toyota and Renault are up – the latter’s registrations boosted by its new car subscription programme.

Moving on to the premium brands mini league. With 10,535 units, Mercedes-Benz stayed ahead of rival BMW (9,300 units, excluding MINI’s 1,142 units), but both German makes saw volume drop 21.7% and 22.6% respectively. Bucking the trend is Volvo, which saw sales grow by 36.1% to 1,883 units. Still a long way from the top two, but the Geely-owned Swedish brand has momentum to build on now.

It’s going to be a big, but also very challenging year ahead for the Malaysian auto industry. There will be mega launches from the national brands that will shake up the industry, but the others might find it tough. If you consider MAA’s flattish 2020 TIV forecast, Perodua’s steady 2020 target and Proton’s aggressive 32% higher target for this year; something has got to give, and the impact will likely be on the smaller brands.

Also, there’s some regulation uncertainty in the horizon – a car price increase was avoided at the very last turn, but the special exemption from the government will end at the end of the year. Car companies, especially those with CKD operations, will have to wrap their heads around this new form of open market value (OMV) calculation, which directly impacts applicable excise duty, and subsequently final car prices. Seatbelts on, let’s go.

Vehicle sales performance in Malaysia, 2019 vs 2018 – a look at last year’s biggest winners and losers

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Danny Tan

Danny Tan loves driving as much as he loves a certain herbal meat soup, and sweet engine music as much as drum beats. He has been in the auto industry since 2006, previously filling the pages of two motoring magazines before joining this website. Enjoys detailing the experience more than the technical details.



  • Roti john on Jan 23, 2020 at 12:27 pm

    In the end of every year, the only carmaker that can made it to the top is only the Game-Changing Perodua while Proton will always placed below it. With this Game-Changing performance, Proton should send Rombongan Sambil Belajar to Perodua office to learn Perodua’s working ethic, business strategy, management and R&D. This way, Proton can become a Game-Changing national carmaker by learning from it’s closest rival and Geely China.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 28
    • Stanley Ong on Jan 24, 2020 at 11:03 am

      Habis lah Proton, tanpa China, sudah masuk longkang ni

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4
      • Habislah Perodua, tanpa Daihatsu, sudah masuk longkang since Day One. tapi sekarang Perodua cars yg masuk longkang. Habislah Produa cars!

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2
  • kenot on Jan 23, 2020 at 12:49 pm was replaced by proton. we can expect proton will continue a momentum this year.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0
  • Hayenadeblue on Jan 23, 2020 at 12:55 pm

    For Honda Danny Tan said “Looks like the delay of launches caused by approval issues is starting to take its toll on the brand”.
    10x “Ha” for you. Actually, Malaysian has realized the drop in quality from Honda that made the sales figure dropped. I was one of them, targeted to own my first Honda but moved to Mazda.
    There are 2 issues:
    1) Quality at the cars – inconsistent panels gap, poor welding quality and power steering issue. I dont think I would include the gear knob issue on CR-V, but yeah.
    2) Quality on after sales – well, I’m not an owner, but being the highest sales from non-national maker has an advantage; they are popular and their fan’s FB page too. And it doesnt stop there, a lot of after sales complaints are there too.
    Come on reader, please add the Honda’s problems below.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 1
    • MeiLi on Jan 23, 2020 at 3:18 pm

      Mazda dropped too, bro. Mazda launched cars that are inferior compared to other markets. For example, Malaysian’s CX-5 are inferior than Thailand’s CX-5 (No MRCC in our CX-5). Their diesel are also problematic too.
      If we want MRCC, just buy their CBU Mazda3 or CX-30. Sapa nak beli, dua2 kereta kecik. Hell, their most expensive car (and biggest too), CX-9 pun tarak MRCC. GTHell la Mazda Malaysia.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0
      • But still Mazda Quality is much better Honda Quality because of safety, aftersales service, quality, reliable and durable

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1
    • Darth_Zoom on Jan 24, 2020 at 11:07 am

      True, my 3yr old CRZ interior panals start to crack” as if the car was 20yr old – cant be replaced or repair – ths will drop heavily on re-sale value

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
  • RUGAL on Jan 23, 2020 at 12:57 pm

    Thanks Najib Razak for your smart move selling 49.9% stake in Proton to Geely. For the first time in many years, Proton sold more than 100k vehicles, and now they are catching up Perodua. Healthy competitions like this will benefit the rakyat. Rather than barking ‘game over’ here and there, why don’t we just support these two national car companies.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 4
    • Funny those from Drb not able to boost P1,

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2
      • Jeremy on Jan 23, 2020 at 3:48 pm

        DRB only had Proton for 6months. How to boost them in 6 months? Not even Klopp did that in Liverpool after 6 months.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0
  • Celup King on Jan 23, 2020 at 12:59 pm

    Someone was saying Proton is gameover but here cut and dry we see Proton is doing 10X jump in sales performance than Perodua. The worse was Perodua undershot their target by 10,000 cars while Proton achieved their goal of surpassing 100,000 sold.

    Moving forward going by pessimistic Perodua flat forecast and Proton’s achievable 32% sales increase, the momentum of 2019 is continuing to push Proton further ahead in 2020.

    Perodua is still sleeping while Proton is high-beaming Perodua to move out of the way. And all these while Perodua still talk about being a gamechanger and bringing gamechanging cars but from 2003 until today we don’t see their gamechanging Kenari Hybrid.

    Perodua can gameover lah.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 13
    • Muahaha on Jan 23, 2020 at 2:33 pm

      240k vs 100k still tok tin kosong.
      Lose is lose bro. No point bising riuh sekampung. Nobody even bother wat u say. P2 keep moving forward fast n faster. While p1 still sleeping and let china walk move for them. Tats y ur papajib sel 49.9% to geely so tat local ceo can continue sleeping and just let chinaman walk the kompeni. If not sell to geely how to walk? They local only know to sleep until bankrap. Very laoya one. Like u la bro tok tok but ur tok never walk like p1. Im sure u r butthurt p1 insider muahahaha.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 23
      • Nobody bother what u say, u just tok kok only. DLLM

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1
      • Calvin on Jan 23, 2020 at 9:41 pm

        Dude. You are just throwing randoms into the comment box. I find it hard to believe but at your pisspoor trolling level, you are making even Kunta look good.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0
      • So, you want to be the poor man’s version of Kunta? Eat some more rice, grow some brain and improve your vocabulary. Now you sound like uneducated jaguh kampung. Wait, P2 is jaguh kampung too so it you two are match made in heaven.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0
  • Safety First on Jan 23, 2020 at 1:04 pm

    Perodua and Toyota should have taken better care of their customers and not just take their money but harm them

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2
  • Ohh maii on Jan 23, 2020 at 1:05 pm

    Dont forget proton only sold 74k car in 2019, x70 are all the way from china and not from kilang proton not ckd.
    2018 64k. Ok lar up 10k.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 9

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0
  • Honda pity!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0
  • Shaun on Jan 24, 2020 at 7:13 am

    OMG !!

    Audi is dead in Malaysia

    Hardly see any NEW Audi A4, A6 , Q5, Q3, Q7 OTR
    only see a few 5 to 10 years old AUDI

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0
  • Mercfan on Jan 30, 2020 at 7:33 am

    VW sales are poor. I wonder why ?. With heavy discounting and still poor ?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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