Despite being a shorter working month, February turned out favourably for the auto industry in terms of new car sales. The Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) reported that a total of 42,784 new vehicles were delivered last month, which was a 30.3% increase over the 32,829 units that were managed in January. This was also 4.1% higher than the 41,087 units sold in the corresponding month last year.

The association attributed the improvement in sales to the lifting of the reimplemented movement control order (MCO) in most states. Sales were undoubtedly aided by the SST exemption that is in place until June 30. Let’s take a look at how some of the brands performed.

Market leader Perodua was the only one in the top five to register a red arrow last month, but the 16,583 units it sold in February was only a smidgen (1.8%) behind the 16,895 units it managed in January. The slight dip can likely be put down to the semiconductor chip shortage faced by the automaker last month, resulting in the production of the Myvi, Aruz and Alza being affected.

Meanwhile, second-placed Proton had a very good month. The national carmaker essentially doubled its sales in February, with the 11,686 units for the month representing a 5,722 unit – or 95.9% – jump from January’s numbers. Earlier this month, the company had reported 11,873 cars sold, which means that the difference from the MAA tally are exports.

Toyota remained third, its 5,026 units last month a 31.3% increase over the 3,828 units achieved the month before. The brand, which has stated its intention to reclaim the No.1 non-national spot this year, is ahead of Honda by just over 3,000 units, but there’s a long way to go, and Honda is responding, its sales for the month a 201.2% improvement over the previous month.

With a 15% improvement in sales, fifth-placed Mitsubishi continued its strong start to the year. Nissan (-9.1%) slipped to seventh behind Mazda (+57.6%) in last month, but is still sixth in year-to-date numbers, barely ahead of Isuzu. Meanwhile, brands that had a soft February included Renault (-20%), Subaru (-68.6%), Hyundai (-29.8%) and Kia (-30.4%).

In the premium segment, Volvo (+161.7%) and Lexus (+182.4%) enjoyed strong sales in February, and Porsche had plenty to be chuffed about, sales leaping from the single unit recorded in January to 45 units last month. There are no figures for BMW and MINI as BMW Group Malaysia is only releasing its numbers quarterly, while premium segment arch-rival Mercedes-Benz has completely stopped sharing sales data.

Click to enlarge,