The Malaysian automotive industry is slowly recovering from Covid-19

By daryl, 03 June 2020

The Movement Control Order (MCO) was bad for many businesses, particularly those in the automotive sector that doesn’t rank very high on the list of essentials at times of crises. This was evident in April, with the height of restrictions reducing monthly car sales to just 141 registrations from the 40k-50k monthly average in Malaysia before the industry was ravaged by the coronavirus. However, a resurgence is finally in sight following the softening of economic restrictions in the past month as part of the conditional MCO. 

National carmaker Proton is optimistic of an uptrend following the sale of 5,676 new cars in May amidst the CMCO. It is planning to stay on that trajectory through a variety of promotions, starting with 0 percent first-year financing for the Proton X70 in the month of June. 

“It will take a few more months to get an accurate reading of marketing conditions but we are quietly confident from this point onwards, we will see steady growth for the rest of the year,” iterated Proton CEO Li Chunrong. 

Perodua boss Datuk Zainal Abidin Ahmad was similarly upbeat about the automotive industry’s recovery as the nation continues is efforts to suppress the pandemic, citing social distancing and personal hygiene as factors that might boost car sales in Malaysia. 

“In this age of social distancing and heightened hygienic awareness, the role played by personal transport becomes all the more important. Vehicles are still needed for short, quick trips out for household essentials, and e-hailing drivers have begun using their vehicles to deliver goods instead of just transporting passengers,” he said. 

Like Proton, Perodua recorded a substantial spike in sales in April as the Rawang-based manufacturer continues to lead the national sales charts with 7,886 cars sold last month. It’s a far cry from the towering figures Perodua used to put out like clockwork, but the combined total of 13,562 cars sold by both of Malaysia’s home-grown automotive players offer a glimmer of hope for the local industry as a whole. Better times are (hopefully) just around the corner.