Yesterday, the Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) revealed that it was changing the manner in how it is providing vehicle sales data to subscribers, reporting numbers on a quarterly basis instead of monthly as it has done previously.

The change comes following a directive by the MAA council in order to align with the latest practices of its members, the association said in a statement. Among the companies that have switched to reporting sales figures on a quarterly basis are BMW, MINI and Mercedes-Benz.

Interestingly, for the second quarter culminating in the first half of 2020, there was no reporting of Mercedes numbers, and we were told by the association that none had been furnished. Curious as to why, we reached out to Mercedes-Benz Malaysia (MBM) for a comment on the matter. The company responded by saying that there is a reason for that omission, because it would like to see a more accurate reporting of numbers than that presently in place.

Under existing practice, the numbers released by the MAA are all declared/reported numbers from manufacturers, and may not reflect actual numbers of vehicle registration as carried out by the JPJ, something MBM feels should be corrected to reflect a more accurate picture.

“Mercedes-Benz Malaysia is an active supporter of MAA and its activities to develop the automotive industry in Malaysia. While proactive reporting of sales figures by brands to MAA is an easy option, we believe a more accurate way of assessing total industry volume (TIV) is to have it based on total cars registered under the road transport department (JPJ),” said MBM president and CEO Claus Weidner.

“We have shared this point of view with MAA and are happy to collaborate to ensure we consider the actual JPJ registration figures for TIV,” he added in his written response.

Many other markets use actual registration numbers for their TIV, which of course is the most accurate measure, but whether such a practice will be adopted here remains to be seen. As far as the new format goes, there will no longer be any provision to report on the sales breakdown by brand in a monthly fashion – the belated June report received yesterday is the last of its kind. The next will be that from the bundled Q3 set, expected in October.