The Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) has released the overall sales and production figures for 2020, showing a total industry volume (TIV) of 529,434 vehicles last year. Compared to the 604,281-unit TIV of 2019, this represented a 12.4% drop, which the association considered a good achievement in light of the “extremely challenging business environment” brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

This achievement was higher than what was expected by the MAA, which had forecast a volume of 470,000 units for 2020. The second half of last year saw a boost in demand and sales, thanks to the sales tax exemption that commenced June 15, 2020 as part of the Penjana stimulus package, and which was initially slated to conclude on December 31 of last year. This has since been extended to June 30, 2021.

The decrease in volume was mitigated in particular by a stronger-than-expected performance in the fourth quarter of 2020, with the monthly TIV reaching its highest point in December with 68,836 units sold in the final month. The exceptionally high volume was attributed to buyer anticipation that the sales tax exemption for passenger vehicles would end on December 31; the extension for this was announced just two days prior.

The drop in production volume has mainly been attributed to the enforcement of the movement control order which took effect on March 18, 2020, along with the lower overall sales volume last year. The industry lost more than two months of vehicle production in 2020, said the MAA; vehicle sales in April saw a drop of nearly 100%.

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On a year-on-year basis, monthly vehicle sales and production began 2020 slightly under 2019 in January, then taking a marginal lead in February. The subsequent, MCO-enforced nosedive and rebound through March, April and May were followed by the retaking of the lead in June with a 94.7% regain that month, followed by a consistent margin each month over 2019 buoyed by the sales tax exemption incentive introduced in June.

From the 529,434-unit TIV recorded for 2020, the passenger vehicles segment saw a decline by 69,212 units, or 12.6%, while the commercial vehicles segment saw a drop of 5,635 units or 10.4% over the same period. Production in 2020 followed the downward trend, with a decrease of 86,446 units or 15% sustained to reach a total of 485,186 units produced, compared to 571,632 units made in 2019.

Passenger vehicle sales made up 480,965 units out of the 529,434-unit TIV for 2020, or 90.8%. Of these, the 353,312 units of passenger cars sold saw a drop of 27,473%, or 7.2% from 2019, while 4X4s and SUVs (93,364 units) sustained a drop of 32,428 units, or 25.8%. MPVs (33,275 units) saw a reduction of 7,326 units or 18%, and window vans (1,014 units) saw the largest percentage drop with 1,985 units, or 66.2% compared to 2019.

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Commercial vehicle sales made up 48,469 units out of the 529,434-unit TIV for 2020, or 9.2%. Of these, 33,730 pick-up trucks were sold in 2020, down 1,391 units or 4.0% from 2019, with trucks recording 10,665 units (down 2,403 units, or 18.4%), panel vans with 2,924 units (down 576 units/16.5%), prime movers with 875 units (down 895 units/50.6%) and buses with 275 units (down 370 units/57.4%).

In terms or production, passenger vehicles made up 457,755 units, or 94.3% of the 485,186-unit TIP for 2020. Of these, passenger cars charted 342,300 units, down 48,680 units or 12.5% from 2019, while 4X4s and SUVs (87,674 units made) saw a drop of 22,806 units, or 20.6%. MPVs (27,021 units) sustained a reduction of 3,420 units or 11.2%, while window vans (760 units) saw a reduction of 1,454 units or 65.7%.

Over to commercial vehicle production, commercial vehicles made up 27,431 units, or 5.7% of the 2020 TIP. Of these, pick-up trucks comprised 15,785 units, down 3,118 units or 16.5% from 2019. Trucks charted 8,575 units (down 5,214 units, or 37.8%), while panel vans (2,184 units) dropped 1,004 units, or 31.5%. Prime movers charted 669 units (down 264 units/28.3%), and buses with 218 units (down 486 units/69.0%).

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