Slower sale of cars seen, says Campi

Published by rudy Date posted on January 6, 2009

The local automotive industry would not have to resort to asking the government for a bailout, unlike the much-troubled US auto industry, manufacturers said Monday.

That is because the industry expects the impact of the global economic slow­down to be relatively less here compared to developed markets, according to the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc. (Campi).

“Thankfully, there is no bailout being sought by the Philippine auto industry, although there is still much that needs to be done to assist the industry to move forward, faster and stronger. After all, the local auto industry performance provides for a stark contrast against the steep decline in growth of saturated auto markets in most developed countries. There is much room to grow for the local auto industry,” Elizabeth Lee, Campi president, said on Monday.

She added that the industry’s outlook remains positive, although a minimal effect of the global financial crisis is expected, thus a lower total industry sales target for this year.

“Official Campi forecast for 2009 is 2-percent to 4-percent [car sales] growth [or about 130,000 units], which is a slower growth [compared to last year’s 10-percent growth], with a flat growth as a worst-case scenario,” Lee said.

The forecast, she added, would be reviewed around the second quarter and revised accordingly.

2008 a good year

Data released by Campi in December 2008 showed that while month-on-month car sales declined in October and November last year because of “restraints in supply and the spillover effect of the global economic downturn,” total car sales for the first 11 months of 2008 actually rose 8.3 percent to 114,564 units, from 105,771 during the same period in 2007.

The 11-month sales already accounted for 91.3 percent of the industry’s target for 2008 of 125,500 units. Last year’s sales goal was the local auto industry’s highest target in 11 years. Lee earlier maintained that the industry is confident that it would hit the projected target.

Campi would be releasing its yearend report on Thursday.

“Perhaps this may be an opportune time to highlight the Philippine auto industry’s opportunities especially against the backdrop of the changing face of globalization turning into regionalization,” Lee said. –Ben Arnold O. De Vera, Reporter, Manila Times

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