MCO weighs on car sales in April


PETALING JAYA: Total vehicle sales plunged 99% year-on-year to 141 units in April, as the government’s movement control order (MCO) forced all automotive companies to cease operations during the month.

Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) president Datuk Aishah Ahmad said the figures recorded in April were in fact sales that could not be registered the month before.

“These sales could not be reported earlier in March but were registered before the MCO, ” she told StarBiz.

According to the MAA’s latest data, issued yesterday, a total of 131 passenger vehicles and 10 commercial vehicles were registered last month.

The association said a total of 49,935 units were sold in April 2019.

Year-to-date April, total vehicle sales for 2020 stood at 106,601 units, compared with 192,971 units in the previous corresponding period.

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On its outlook for the month of May, the MAA said sales volume will be much higher than last month’s but lower than the traditional monthly registrations prior to the MCO.

“Businesses resumed after the lifting of restrictions for most economic activities. However, the Road Transport Department started allowing new vehicle registrations only from May 13,2020, ” it added.

The MAA said that companies also faced delays in getting vehicle inspections done at Puspakom branches due to long queues.

“Consumer confidence has not yet normalised and sentiment is still very low. Automotive showroom traffic is low. Banks are more stringent in approving hire purchase loans as well as reducing hire purchase loans quantum, ” it said.

To tackle the rise in Covid-19 infections in the country, the government implemented the MCO on March 18. On May 4, a conditional MCO (CMCO) was enforced to allow businesses to re-open to recover the economy. The CMCO has been extended to June 9.

Last month, the MAA announced that it was revising downwards its 2020 total industry volume (TIV) forecast to 400,000 units from 607,000 previously. The 400,000 units forecast would represent a 34% contraction from 2019’s 604,287 units. It also marks the first time in 13 years since the TIV failed to surpass the 500,000-unit mark.

According to historical data, the last time vehicle sales failed to breach the 500,000-unit mark was in 2007, when TIV stood at around 480,000 units.