As reported earlier, the month of April saw what was the worst performing month ever in terms of new vehicle sales, with the country right in the thick of the fight against Covid-19 with the movement control order (MCO).

According to data from the Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA), just 141 cars were shifted in April. This represents a drop of 22,337 units or a 99.37% decrease from the 22,478 units in March, which was already 44% lower than the February total.

How then was it possible that 131 passenger vehicles and 10 commercial vehicle registrations were carried out during a period where all car showrooms nationwide were shuttered and road transport department (JPJ) offices remained closed? According to industry sources, with new vehicles not needing Puspakom inspection, all that was needed was registration, and it remained possible to do so online during the MCO period.

The sources said that in many of these instances, the registrations that were carried out were for vehicle purchases in which car loans had already been approved pre-MCO and a Letter of Undertaking (LoU) had already been issued, and the completion of the registration was so there would be no lapse in the agreement, which would entail needing to go through the whole process again.

However, the registered vehicles would not have physical documentation or road tax, and with no PDI and facilities closed, owners would have had no avenue to collect the vehicles, making them mere statistics in the system.

Specifics-wise, only 10 brands had anything to shout about in a month completely full of red arrows, and market leader Perodua again led the way with 57 units, which was a massive drop from the 8,601 units it did the month before. Honda, which is third in the overall standings this year, was the second best performer last month, achieving 27 units.

It was followed by Proton, which managed 22 units, and Toyota, which recorded 13 units for the month. The fifth-best performer for the month was Nissan, which racked up eight units, while Mitsubishi chipped into the grand total with six units.

The best performing European brand was Volkswagen, its five units clearly outstripping Peugeot and Volvo, which each recorded one unit. Rounding off the list is Hyundai, which also achieved one unit, which was still better than everyone else on the list. If there’s any consolation to this tale of woe, it’s that May must surely be a better month.

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