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Malaysia 1998: Proton Saga back to #1 in market imploding -58.7%

The Proton Saga reclaims the Malaysian pole position in a difficult context.

The financial crisis hits the Malaysian new car market full frontal in 1998: sales implode down -58.7% to just 164.402 units, the lowest annual result since 1993 (151.776). In uncertain times, consumers tend to return to trusted values and it rings true in the brands ranking with Proton (-55.5%) and most strikingly Perodua (-34.6%) managing to lose less ground than the market and therefore improve their share significantly: Proton goes from 49.5% to 53.2% and Perodua from 17.3% to 27.3%, meaning Malaysian carmakers now hold a huge 80.5% of their home market vs. just 66.8% a year ago. In contrast, Toyota (-71.8%), Nissan (-77.9%) and Honda (-79%) are completely annihilated in the Top 5 and the entire Top 20 loses share year-on-year with Kia (-87.2%), Mazda (-86%), Suzuki (-85.8%), Mitsubishi (-81.3%), Volvo (-81%) and Land Rover (-80.7%) among the ones suffering the most.

The top of the models ranking is reshuffled, with the Proton Saga (-13.5%) spectacularly doubling its market share to 30.4% to return to #1 for the first time since 1993 and swapping spots with the Proton Wira (-70.1%) in dire straits while the Perodua Kancil (-33.2%) stays at #2 but improves its share from 14.7% to 23.7%. The Proton Satria (-71.7%) remains at #4 and the Perodua Kembara lands at #5, ensuring the Top 5 is 100% Malaysian for the third time in the past 4 years. The Daihatsu Charade gains a spectacular 16 spots to become the best-selling foreigner at #6 thanks to stable sales.

Previous year: Malaysia 1997: Proton Wira #1, Perodua Kancil up to #2 in record market just under 400.000 units

Full Year 1998 Top 25 All-brands and Top 115 All-models below.

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