Well, this was to be expected. Vehicle sales in Malaysia – like in the rest of the world – are in free fall after the government issued a movement control order last month, and we are finally getting a glimpse of the damage caused by the coronavirus disease pandemic.

Numbers from the Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) show a staggering 44% drop in the number of cars sold, with just 22,478 units versus the 40,403 that left dealer lots in February. Not surprising, considering that showrooms were closed for nearly half a month after the commencement of the order.

Also not surprising is the fact that pretty much all of the brands reported a decline in sales, with only Honda registering an increase – and a big one at that. After falling to under 2,000 units in February, sales rebounded by 86.5% or 1,522 units to 3,281 units, spurred by the much-delayed launch of the new Accord and facelifted Civic in late February.

This allowed it to retake second position in the overall standings, overhauling both Toyota and Proton, as well as the former in the year-to-date stakes. Market leader Perodua continued to rule the roost, despite selling a whopping 10,294 fewer cars at 8,601 units – a drop of 54.5%. Proton, meanwhile, posted a 67.1% or 6,697 unit drop to 3,277 units, while Toyota’s sales fell 30.3% or 1,210 units to 2,779 units.

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Ignoring Mercedes-Benz’s inflated figure – which was actually for the entire first quarter – the fourth and and fifth positions were taken by Mazda and, surprisingly, Isuzu. Sales for these two Japanese brands fell by 52.7% and 31.1% to 521 and 433 units respectively. Where’s Nissan, you ask? Well, the perennial fifth-placer dropped to 11th in the standings, its 331 units sold representing a 68.3% decline compared to February.

As for the premium segment, BMW (which finally released its figures, having switched to quarterly reporting before Mercedes did) registered a 64.1% decrease in sales, at 230 units. While that’s obviously bad news, Munich still managed to surpass Mercedes-Benz for the year to date, with 1,600 units versus 1,324. The rest of the segment also saw heavy losses, with Volvo down 56.1% to 69 units and Lexus down 70.5% to 28 units.

Elsewhere, further major losers include Subaru (-78%), MINI (-70.8%) and Volkswagen (-60.5%). This month will almost certainly return zero sales, with the continued shutdown of showrooms as the movement control order will stretch out to May 12 at the earliest.