Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) reports that the total number of new vehicles sold in June 2021 was just 1,921 units. The economic slowdown brought about by the tightening social and commercial restrictions has meant that the automotive industry has been brought to a crawl.
This marks a dramatic year-on-year plunge of 95.7 percent. By contrast, in June 2020, just after the first Movement Control Order was implemented and subsequently relaxed, the MAA recorded 44,755 new vehicles sold.
To nobody’s surprise, this coincides perfectly with the start of a nationwide lockdown that is still ongoing, beginning on June 1st, with some parts of Selangor and Kuala Lumpur being placed
under an Enhanced Movement Control Order. Currently, car dealers and production facilities are deemed non-essential and therefore not allowed to operate.
"Minimal sales recorded for June 2021 were spilled-over registrations from end of May 2021. Currently, only motor vehicle workshops are allowed to operate,” said MAA president Datuk Aishah Ahmad during a virtual press conference last week.
Passenger vehicles accounted for the majority of the 1,921 vehicles sold last month with 1,841 units. Meanwhile, only 80 commercial vehicle units were transacted. This trend of dismal sales is expected to continue into July 2021’s numbers too as only showrooms in Sabah were allowed to operate under Phase 2 of the National Recovery Plan.
As the majority of vehicle assembly and component manufacturing takes place in Selangor and certain parts of Kuala Lumpur, June 2021 saw just 276 units produced compared to 45,044 units in June 2020, marking a 99.4 percent drop.
That all being said, in spite of the numerous restrictions, it was also reported that new car registration has increased by 43.5 percent to 249,129 units for the year to date (up to June 2021) compared to 173,545 units registered until the same period in 2020.
At the very least, this shows an underlying healthy demand for new cars within the population that is being impeded by the currently implemented restrictions. Hopefully, when showrooms open and vehicle production resumes once again, they will be met by ravenous new customers in the automotive marketplace.
There's just something about cars. It's a conveyance, it's a liability, it's a tool; but it can also be a source of joy, pride, inspiration and passion. It's much like clothes versus fashion. And like the latter, the pursuit of perfection never ends.