Auto sales up in January, but 2024 outlook still muted

PETALING JAYA: The country saw a stronger year-on-year (y-o-y) number for sales of new motor vehicles in January but analysts remain cautious on the outlook this year mainly due to a lack of catalysts to drive sales and earnings to a new high.

The Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) reported a total industry volume (TIV) of 65,499 units, up 31% y-o-y in January.

“We anticipate the first quarter to chart stronger y-o-y TIV, supported by the high order backlogs carried forward from last year, which we believe are unsustainable.

“We continue to expect 2024 TIV to soften to 625,000 given the lack of catalysts that could drive sales to another high and maintain a ‘neutral’ on the sector,” RHB Research said, adding that Bermaz Auto is its top pick for the sector.

The research house added that the strong y-o-y increase was mainly driven by non-national mass market brand Honda, which surged 103% y-o-y as well as national marques Perodua, which rose 38% y-o-y and Proton gaining 11% y-o-y.

However, on a month-on-month (m-o-m) basis, January TIV fell 17%. The drop was expected given the seasonally weaker January sales, with most major marques experiencing weaker sales deliveries during the month.

January total production volume (TPV) rose 30% y-o-y and 15% m-o-m.

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