Malaysia’s Perusahaan Otomobil Kedua Sdn Bhd (Perodua) has begun hiring 400 additional workers as it ramps up production to meet a steady increase in orders.

Managing Director Hafiz Bakar says the national auto maker has boosted output 20%-30% to meet demand as the country’s festival season approaches.

Perodua also is gearing up to launch its maiden multipurpose vehicle at the end of the year.

The Business Times newspaper reports the auto maker’s production rose to 19,000 units in July, and Bakar says he expects momentum to remain constant in the coming months.

“We (had) bookings of more than 20,000 (units) last month,” he is quoted as saying. “In first 10 days of August, (orders totaled) 6,000 – a good indicator of the performance for the coming months.”

Perodua sales rose 7.8% through July to 93,000 units, prompting the auto maker to raise its full-year target to 162,000, just short of a record 167,000 deliveries in 2008.