With the government’s movement control order now in its second week, the days of being able to go to showrooms seem like eons ago. Still, data from the last full month of vehicle sales show that consumer sentiment was still relatively strong, right up until point in which the coronavirus disease outbreak worsened.

All in all, 40,403 vehicles rolled off dealer lots in February, which is 1.5% or 590 units up on the 39,813 units sold during the same month in 2019. More worrying is the fact that this figure is 5.3% or 2,249 units less that what the industry mustered in January, itself affected by the shorter working week brought on by the Chinese New Year holidays. The Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) said that delays in the introduction of new car models, such as the facelifted Honda Civic and new Accord, have contributed to the drop in sales.

With two important models only being launched at the tail end of the month, it’s no surprise that Honda’s sales fell like the proverbial stone, with just 1,759 vehicles being registered – that’s a drop of 71%, or a whopping 4,301 units. It has therefore lost its third place in the standings, with Perodua, Proton and Toyota occupying the podium positions.

Click on the table to view an enlarged version

Malaysia’s market leader surged forwards with 18,895 units sold, up 8.1% from 17,481 units in January, likely bolstered by the arrival of the facelifted Bezza. But the biggest winner was Proton – sales shot up some 17.3% from 8,506 units to 9,974, perhaps buoyed by the introduction of the locally-assembled X70.

Toyota’s sales were also up 9.4% to 3,989 units, while Mazda completed the top five with 1,102 units sold, a measly two units up from January. Perennial fifth placer Nissan dropped to sixth as sales slid 23.8% to 1,045 units. Like January, last month’s sales figures are a bit of an outlier, as Mercedes-Benz has now joined BMW in withholding its sales numbers – like Munich, Stuttgart is only releasing quarterly figures, so we’ll have to wait for this month’s figures to see how the leading premium brands stack up.

Outside the top two Germans, other premium brands saw impressive gains, including Porsche (up 157.1%), Lexus (up 111.1%) and Volvo (up 11.3%). The month was also good for Isuzu (up 21.9%), but not so good for Renault (down 55.1%), Hyundai (down 53.8%) and Peugeot (down 37.4%). Expect significantly curtailed sales for this month, as the MCO will result in zero sales for more than half the month.