Auto industry cites resilience even as sales contract in first quarter

Published by rudy Date posted on April 13, 2009

First quarter sales of local car assemblers slowed from a year ago, according to two industry groups.

In a statement, the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc. (Campi) and Truck Manufacturers Association said the industry registered sales of 28,564 units in the three months ending March. This was 1.2-percent lower than the 28,907 units sold in the same period last year.

Campi, however, said the year-on-year sales dip was “negligible,” citing the US auto market wherein sales slumped 37 percent for the same quarter.

Despite the poor year-on-year showing, car sales accelerated in March compared with the previous month. Month-on-month sales surged 19 percent to 10,746 units from 9,027 in February.

“The local industry’s resiliency and very strong March performance is an indication of consumers’ positive economic outlook reflected in the 19-percent increase in March auto purchases on top of the 2.7-percent increase in February purchases and January’s flat growth,” said Elizabeth Lee, Campi president.

“Key to the industry’s sustained growth is the stable financing environment where buyers are able to take out loans to finance their purchases. In fact, we see some optimism through the aggressive stance of some major banks that recognize the growth potential of the [local] auto industry by offering affordable loan packages to consumers nationwide,” Lee said.

“We are still cautiously optimistic and we look forward to a sustained positive average in the coming months,” she said. –Ben Arnold O. De Vera | Manila Times

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