Covid-19 has devastated the economy and Malaysians have put off buying big ticket items such as cars to weather the storm. Have you heard of something along those lines before? Well, it’s probably not true, if the shopping mall crowds and car sales are indicators.

In yet another piece of evidence that the government’s Penjana economic stimulus plan is working, Proton’s latest sales figures show that its year-to-date August 2020 sales of 61,672 units have surpassed 2019 levels by 46 units. Yes, the year 2020 – much of it under the grip of Covid-19 and lockdowns – has seen more Proton sales than in peaceful 2019.

And it’s Proton, so this isn’t a case of “rich people are not affected”. Overall total industry volume (TIV) breached the 50,000 mark for the second month in a row, building some momentum for Malaysian car industry as a whole, boosted by the sales tax exemption for vehicle purchases in 2020. Recent international news also hint at a fast revival – see PSA and Toyota.

Proton’s August sales of 11,378 units was its second best month of the year. That number is 14% lower than July’s eight-year monthly record, but still 24.7% higher year-on-year. Proton estimates that its market share is 21.6% for August and 21.7% year-to-date.

Proton claims leadership of three segments that it plays in. The carmaker says that the Persona and Exora continue to lead their classes (B-segment sedan and MPV), while the X70 remains the best-selling SUV in Malaysia, extending its lead in August.

“Proton is pleasantly surprised by how quickly we have been able to recover the lost sales during the MCO period, as it only took us three months to get back on track. By exceeding our YTD volume in August, we are quietly confident of recovery from the headwinds of Covid-19,” said Roslan Abdullah, CEO of Proton Edar.

“The positive effect this has on the company, our employees and the vendor community cannot be understated and we hope to continue this trend until the end of the year so as to give the automotive industry ecosystem a strong boost,” he added.