THE Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) has kept its new vehicles sales growth forecast at 2.5 per cent, or a total of 615,000 units, as domestic demand remains resilient.
Its president Datuk Aishah Ahmad said the second half of the year would be challenging but if there was positive gross domestic product (GDP) demand, "the local automotive industry will enjoy another robust and, perhaps, even a record total industry vehicle (TIV) high."
MAA said the TIV rebounded strongly in May and June, growing by 27 per cent and 35 per cent, respectively.
"Going forward, we believe this uptrend will likely continue for the next few months.
"The coming festive seasons starting with Hari Raya next month will provide the impetus for the industry to record higher sales," Aishah said at the half-year sales review yesterday.
Vehicle sales grew 1.4 per cent to 301,224 units in the first six months of this year, compared with 297,203 units sold in the same period last year.
Aishah noted that the slightly stronger sales up to June was contributed mainly by the commercial vehicle segment.
The segment grew by 3,820 units compared to the passenger vehicle segment, which increased by 201 units.
Total registration of new passenger vehicles in the first six months of this year was 265,855 units, accounting for a 88.3 per cent share of the TIV but was lower than the 89.4 per cent achieved last year.
A total of 35,369 new commercial vehicles were also registered up till last month. This accounted for a 11.7 per cent share of the TIV.
In tandem with higher sales, production volume in the first half of the year increased by 3.2 per cent to 282,060 units, up from 273,399 units in the same period last year.
MAA said total industry production started to recover from April.
"MAA members handling Japanese makes have reported that the worst is over and that production has returned to the level prior to Thailand's flood disaster," Aishah said.