Malaysia’s new-vehicle sales climbed 26.6%, compared with year-ago, to a May total of 58,299 units, as the supply chain returned to normal after the disruption of Japan’s and Thailand’s natural disasters.

The Malaysian Automotive Assn. says new-car deliveries surged 25.8% to 51,615 units, while commercial-vehicle sales soared 32.8% to 6,784.

Despite the month’s strong result, year-to-date sales remained down 4.2% to 244,620 units. After five months, car deliveries were off 5.7% to 215,788, while the CV segment was up 8.4% to 28,832.

The MAA says last month’s sales reflected not only stabilization of the supply chain, but also the introduction of new models. “Sales volume for June is expected to be maintained at the May level,” the association says in a statement.

Malaysian auto makers boosted production 19% to 46,284 units in May, with new-car output alone rising 10.4% to 40,377. Year-to-date production was up 1% to 233,071 units, with car builds falling 2.8% to 206,492. CV output gained 46.2% to 26,579.

The government news agency Bernama quotes OSK Research as predicting total industry volume will grow in coming months, supported by strengthened sales in the entry-level vehicle segment.

“The growth numbers will perk up due to the low base effect caused by last year's earthquake in Japan and the devastating floods in Thailand,” OSK says in a research note.

Bernama also reports the government is considering liberalizing its policy on energy-efficient vehicles to encourage their local development and production.

“We are in the process of setting up a National Automotive Council, which will oversee the growth of the automotive industry in Malaysia,” International Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa Mohamed is quoted as saying.