Based on overall numbers, 2019 was a good year for the car industry – the total industry volume (TIV) breached the 600k mark for the first time since 2015, recording a total of 604,287 units, an increase of 5,689 units (or about 1%) over the 598,598 units managed in 2018.
The take-up for passenger vehicles also increased last year, going up by around 3.2% to 550,179 units. This increase bumped the contribution of the passenger vehicle segment to 91% of the overall TIV, and offset the slowdown in commercial vehicle sales, which went down by 17.4% to 54,108 units.
We’ve seen how the brands have fared in absolute terms, so it’s time to take a closer look at specifics, as in which models were the best selling in 2019 based on numbers reported to the Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA).
Before we get to the list, some trivia – the 10 models came from four brands, and these shifted a combined total of 382,878 units, making for a 69.5% share of the total sales in the passenger vehicle segment. Ten cars, making for more than two-thirds of the overall PV volume among them. Quite the trick.
10. Honda HR-V – 16,180 units
First previewed in July 2018, the Honda HR-V facelift was supposed to have entered the market in the third quarter of the year, but delays meant it only made its debut last January. Although this took the wind out of its sails, the SUV – which is available in four variants, including a hybrid – still managed to sell into tenth.
9. Proton Persona – 21,876 units
The Persona was another model that received a facelift in 2019. The refresh was launched in April, with plenty in the way of changes (303, to be exact). More kit at lower prices than when the car was first introduced in 2016 helped pushed sales of the nameplate past the 20k mark for the first time since 2014.
8. Toyota Vios – 23,986 units
Like the City, the Vios has long been a favourite with Malaysian buyers, and though the numbers have waned somewhat since the heady days, the B-segment offering still generates good numbers, certainly enough to place it in the top 10 and keep it the brand’s best performer. Like many on this year’s list, the Vios got off to a fresh start in January last year, and it now wears a sharp, stylish suit.
7. Proton X70 – 26,331 units
In its first full year of sales, Proton’s X70 ended 2019 as the seventh most popular pick for buyers in the country, a sterling achievement. And what’s not to like, really – it’s well packaged and very tidily presented. With the CKD version set to make its debut soon, it’s safe to say that adoption rates for the SUV will continue strongly this year.
6. Perodua Aruz – 30,115 units
Perodua’s new SUV made its debut last January, and by May it was announced that the bookings for the seven-seater, which is available in two variants, had reached the 25k mark. In the end, a total of 30,115 units were delivered over course of the year, good enough to give it sixth spot in the top-seller list.
5. Honda City – 31,357 units
The top non-national performer this year was the Honda City, which despite being unchanged (save the addition of a new exterior colour) in its fourth-gen facelift guise, continued to manage good numbers. Barring any delays, the new City should make its way in sometime this year, which should ensure that things pick up for the B-segment sedan.
4. Proton Saga – 38,144 units
Proton’s best-selling model, the Saga, was facelifted in August, and has been selling very nicely since its debut – the automaker said that the car had received 41,000 orders by the end of last year. It still wasn’t enough to catch the Bezza in 2019, but the tussle is shaping up for a big round this year = Proton says it is aiming to have the Saga becoming the bestseller in its class in 2020. Will it?
3. Perodua Bezza – 45,656 units
Not the prettiest rear in pre-facelift guise, but that didn’t seem to bother buyers at all. There’s no denying its practicality, especially for those needing the boot space and into ride-sharing work. As it is, it held off the Saga for third spot, but with both cars now having been updated (Saga last August, Bezza last month), the fresh takes will ensure the fight continues unabated, and it’ll be intriguing to see who emerges ahead at the end of 2020.
2. Perodua Axia – 67,267 units
The Bezza may have more in the way of cargo-carrying ability, but not everyone needs all that boot space, as reflected by the sales numbers generated by the Axia, the second best-selling vehicle in the country last year. The compact hatchback was updated last September, and aside from gaining new kit – including VSC – two new variants were also introduced, an SUV-inspired Style being one of them.
1. Perodua Myvi – 81,966 units
No surprise as to who the number one is – the Perodua Myvi remains the best-selling car in the country, and by a clear margin. The numbers managed last year by the third-gen hatchback, which has been around since November 2017, accounted for a third (34.1%) of the automaker’s total sales for 2019, and it doesn’t look like things will change in 2020.