As expected, new vehicle sales took a big hit following the pre-GST buying frenzy in February and March. New vehicle sales for the month of April nosedived 32.9 percent from March's figures, down to just 45,817 units, according to data compiled by the Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA).
In March 2015, one month before the GST's implementation on 1-April, sales shot up by 33.6 percent from February 2015, reaching 67,314 units, the highest monthly sales recorded since July 2013.
In the months leading up to April, car manufacturers were actively promoting their models with attractive discounts to avoid carrying an unnecessarily high level of inventory into April, as it would complicate their tax calculations.
Vehicles produced before 1-April but are only invoiced to the customer after 1-April were subjected to both 10 percent SST and 6 percent GST. Although the Customs allows car dealers to claim back a portion of the SST paid (20 percent of the total SST paid), it will take up to two years before they can receive the refund from Customs.
While it is natural to see sales down again after a period of artificially boosted high sales, the market is still underperforming even when compared to the same period last year.
April 2015's figures are down 23.1 percent from the same month last year. Not only that, April's sales are also the lowest in 25 months, lower than the 45,406 units recorded in February 2013, where sales were severely affected by the last General Election.
Year-to-date 2015 sales stands at 213,493 units, down 2.4 percent from the same period in 2014.