Sales of new autos in Malaysia will pick up in the second half of the year, boosted by introduction of new models, to reach 615,000 vehicles for 2012, an industry group said Thursday.
The Malaysian Automotive Association said sales through January-April were hurt by tighter financing rules and disruption to production as parts supplies were affected by Thailand’s flood disaster last year, but rebounded strongly in May and June.
It said sales rose 1.4 percent for the first six months to 301,224 vehicles and could edge up to nearly 314,000 vehicles in the second half. That would see 2012 sales up 2.5 percent from 600,123 vehicles sold last year.
Association president Aishah Ahmad said the upward sales trend would be sustained by the introduction of new models and positive consumer sentiment despite a turbulent global economy.
She said the government is mapping out a new automotive policy with incentives to encourage investment in energy efficient vehicles but details are still scant.
Malaysia has lost out as a regional auto hub to Thailand, which has liberalised its industry at a faster pace and touted itself as the “Detroit of the East.”
Aishah said Thailand’s auto association has forecast the country’s auto sales to hit 1.1 million vehicles this year, which would make it the biggest auto market in Southeast Asia. Indonesia would come in second with targeted sales of 940,000 vehicles and Malaysia would be No. 3, she said.