Despite crisis, local car sales rise by 19%

Published by rudy Date posted on April 9, 2009

The domestic automotive market improved remarkably in March with industry sales growing by 19 percent to 10,746 units from 9,027 units in February—just 1 percent less than the quarterly showing last year of 28,907 units sold from this quarter’s strong 28,564 units.

“So far, our auto industry continues to buck the general global trend and continues on a growth path. We continue to be optimistic and do everything we can to maintain competitive prices, offer vehicle  packages at affordable rates that serve consumers’ vehicle needs,” said Elizabeth Lee, president of the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc. (Campi), in a statement.

Campi reported that passenger car sales went up 19.1 percent in March to 3,765 units from 3,162 units in February. Compared with the first three months of 2008, the number of passenger cars sold has increased by 4.9 percent to 10,311 units in the first quarter of 2009.

Commercial vehicles went down, meanwhile, by 4.3 percent to 18,253 units in the first quarter of the year. But sales in the category also picked up in March with 6,981 units, also up 19 percent from February sales of 5,865 units.

“Additionally, the positive trend is quite encouraging as moves by major banks and lenders which support consumer lending are proving to be healthy for business and the economy. It certainly has had a positive impact on the auto industry. We are indeed thankful and blessed to be having positive gains amid the global auto downturn. We are still cautiously optimistic and we look forward to a sustained positive average in the coming months,” said Lee.

She added that OFW remittances and the entrepreneurial trend are major factors that continue to impact positively on car sales.

Toyota Motors Philippines is still ahead of the pack with sales of 9,772 units in the first quarter for a market share of 34.2 percent.

It is followed by Mitsubishi with 4,860 units sold; Honda with 4,510 units; Hyundai, 2,206; Isuzu, 1,896 units; Ford plus Mazda, 1,603 units; Universal Motors, 1,196 units; Columbian Autocar, 875 units; Suzuki, 496 units; General Motors, 398; and Nissan Motor Philippines, 393 units.

The top five models are Toyota Vios with 2,416 units sold, Honda City with 2,242, Toyota Innova with 2016, Mitsubishi Montero with 1,417, and Toyota Avanza with 1,328.–Max V. de Leon / Reporter, Business Mirror

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