The Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) has released vehicle sales data for the month of July 2021, announcing earlier today that a total of 7,086 vehicles were delivered last month. This is an increase of 5,165 units from the 1,921 units that were sold in June, representing a 269% gain in volume.

The total last month was also 51,792 units (or 88%) less that that achieved for the corresponding month in 2020, when 58,878 were shifted. Despite this, the year-to-date total for 2021 is still ahead of that last year, with the 256,215 units managed so far in the seven months of the year being 23,792 units (or 10.2%) more than the 232,423 units that were recorded in the same period last year.

If there was no showroom activity at all across the country in June due to the nationwide lockdown, this was not the case in July – while showrooms in the Peninsular remained shuttered last month, those in Sabah and Sarawak were allowed to operate under phase two of the national recovery plan (NRP), and this made for the notable increase in numbers compared to June. The association added that very minimal sales were accomplished via online registration.

It said that sales numbers for this month will be higher than July, given the economic relaxations announced by the government for states still in phase one of the NRP, including Selangor and Kuala Lumpur. As of today, August 16, services and businesses that are allowed to resume operations include car showrooms, which can reopen to fully vaccinated patrons.

The numbers won’t be massive, given that half the month is gone, but it is a step in the right direction for the beleaguered auto industry. Automotive production is now also able to resume operations in all phases of the NRP, but operation capacity is limited to the vaccination rate among staff.

In any case, like a big machine, it’ll take time for all the gears to click in place, so whether or not supply can keep up with demand to fulfil orders – and meet the December 31 SST exemption deadline – remains to be seen. The race is well and truly on.