Automotive sales up 6% last year

Published by rudy Date posted on January 9, 2009

Sales of the local automotive industry grew by six percent last year despite the slowdown in vehicle sales seen in other markets like the US and Europe, the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers Association of the Philippines Inc. (CAMPI) said.

“Elsewhere in and around the world, the auto markets of developed countries experienced steep declines due to the credit crunch coupled by deteriorating consumer confidence in those respective markets. Thankfully, there is enough liquidity in the local Philippine financing environment with consumers able to take out loans for their personal and business needs,“ Elizabeth H. Lee, CAMPI president, said.

For 2008, industry sales reached 124,449 units up six percent from 117,903 units a year ago. December sales meanwhile reached 9,885 units. Lee said sales volume for the month of December would have been higher if it were not for the unusually long holidays, cutting short selling opportunities by almost two weeks. 

Despite the global economic crunch, Lee said local players remain positive. “Although a spill over effect from the global economic turndown is expected, the degree of impact is expected to be relatively less,” Lee noted.

For this year, the industry expects to grow by two to four percent. “It will be a challenging year for most, but nevertheless we are still looking forward to growth year for 2009.”

“OFW remittances will remain a significant engine of consumption. This year, competition will be stiff which may in turn benefit auto buyers,” Lee said.

“The entrepreneurial trend will likely continue and may get stronger as returning OFWs may be ‘forced’ to become dual income earners while at the same time, opportunities are likely to crop up amidst any crisis,” she added.

Last year, commercial vehicles dominated the market with an overall market share of 64 percent with over 80,000 commercial vehicles were sold. The remaining 36 percent were passenger cars.

Commercial vehicle sales registered a four percent growth over 2007 sales. In December alone, sales went up by 12.4 percent despite the shortened selling days supported by strong sales of dual purpose vehicles such as AUVs, vans and pick up trucks. Strong sales of the new and upgraded models helped boost the performance of vehicles in the segment as well.

For this year, Lee said commercial vehicle sales will likely remain strong as buyers become more scrutinizing in their vehicles purchases, looking for products with the best value for money.

Passenger car sales ended the year with an 8.5 percent growth selling a total of 44,426 cars for the year despite the 17.8 percent decline in December sales due to lack of stocks and shorter selling days. Volumes were sustained by small engine cars supported by the extension of promotion subsidies.

Toyota sold the most number of vehicles as it commanded 36.9 percent of the market with 45,915 units. This was followed by Mitsubishi Motors Corp with 14.1 percent or 17,539 units while Honda Cars Philippines Inc had 11.5 percent of the market as it sold 14,298 units.–Ma. Elisa P. Osorio, Philippine Star

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