Local car sales higher but miss growth target

Published by rudy Date posted on January 9, 2009

Amid a troubled global economy last year, the local automotive industry managed to pull off year-on-year sales growth but missed its official growth target by a hairline, the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc. (Campi) and the Truck Manufacturers Association said.

In its year-end joint sales report, the industry automotive industry sold 124,449 units in 2008, which is a 5.6-percent rise compared with total sales of 117,903 units in 2007. Month-on-month, car sales for December last year went up by 0.8 percent to 9,885 units from the 9,807 posted in November.

However, the industry missed its 2008 auto sales forecast of 125,500 by 1,051 units.

Elizabeth Lee, Campi president, said, “sales volume for the month of December would have been higher, if not for the unusually long holidays, [which cut] short selling opportunities by almost two weeks.”

In an e-mail, she said, “This is a stark contrast when compared to other markets—the biggest one of all, the US, and other developed markets—[which experienced] double-digit sales declines. So, a 6-percent growth is very good news for the local auto industry. [Despite] the global downturn, we still managed to grow [last year].”

According to the report, last year’s sales of passenger cars (PCs) of 44,426 units went up by 8.5 percent from the previous year’s 40,958 PCs sold. But month-on-month sales for December went down by 17.8 percent (3,092 units in December vs. 3,761 in November) due to “lack of stocks and shorter selling days.” PCs cornered a 35.7-percent share of 2008 sales.

Meanwhile, the commercial vehicles (CVs) segment grew 4 percent year-on-year, with 80,023 units sold in 2008 compared with 76,945 in 2007 while its December sales were 12.4 percent to 6,793 units higher than in November.

CVs, which include Asian utility vehicles (AUVs), light commercial vehicles such as vans, pick-up trucks and compact wagons, light trucks, and trucks and buses, continued to dominate the market with a 64.3-percent share of total sales nationwide.

Toyota Motors Philippines Corp. was last year’s top seller, with 45,915 units sold, or 36.9 percent of the industry total. Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp. followed with total sales of 17,539 units, or 14.1 percent of the market in 2008, while Honda Cars Philippines Inc. is at third place with sales of 14,298, or an 11.5-percent market share.

Rounding up the top five sellers last year are Korean car company Hyundai Asia Resources Inc. and another Japanese car manufacturer Isuzu Philippines Corp., which closely trailed behind, with sales of 10,203 and 10,101 units, or market shares of 8.2 percent and 8.1 percent, respectively. –Ben Arnold O. de Vera, Researcher, Manila Times

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