Car sales drop first in seven years

Business World - - Front Page - By Jan­ina C. Lim Re­porter

VE­HI­CLE SALES in 2018 dropped for the first time in seven years as the in­dus­try reeled amid im­po­si­tion of higher au­to­mo­bile taxes start­ing Jan­uary and the ac­cel­er­a­tion of head­line in­fla­tion to the high­est in nearly a decade.

A joint re­port of the Cham­ber of Au­to­mo­tive Man­u­fac­tur­ers of the Philip­pines, Inc. (CAMPI) and the Truck Man­u­fac­tur­ers As­so­ci­a­tion (TMA) sent Mon­day to re­porters showed that to­tal sales fell 16% to 357,410 units last year from 425,673 ve­hi­cles in 2017.

The same com­par­a­tive years saw pas­sen­ger car sales ac­count­ing for 30.5% of the to­tal and fall­ing by 21.8% to 109,020 from 139,424 units, while com­mer­cial ve­hi­cle sales, which con­trib­uted 69.5%, dropped 13.3% to 248,390 from 286,249.

Data from the Web site of the ASEAN Au­to­mo­tive Fed­er­a­tion, which sources its data from the CAMPI and TMA for its Philip­pine es­ti­mates, showed that last year’s de­cline was the first for the coun­try since 2011 when ve­hi­cle sales also dropped by 16% to 141,616 units.

The 2018 slide was also slightly big­ger than the 10-15% drop the in­dus­try had ex­pected.

De­cem­ber alone saw sales drop 29.8% to 31,945 ve­hi­cles from 45,494 units a year ago though 2.2% up from Novem­ber’s 31,258 units.

Pas­sen­ger car sales to­taled 9,301 units for the month, down 34.4% from 14,182 units

a year ago, while com­mer­cial ve­hi­cle sales to­taled 22,644 units, down 27.7% from the year­ago 31,312 units.

Un­der the com­mer­cial ve­hi­cle seg­ment, sales of Asian util­ity ve­hi­cles (AUV) slumped 45.3% to 3,539 units in De­cem­ber from 6,472 a year ago, those of light com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles fell by 23.3% to 17,963 units from 23,434 units, while those of light trucks slipped by 1.7% to 681 units from 693 units.

Full-year 2018 saw Toyota Mo­tors Philip­pines Corp. lead­ing in­dus­try sales with 153,004 ve­hi­cles sold — ac­count­ing for 42.81% of the to­tal — down 16.8% from 183,908 in 2017.

It was fol­lowed by Mitsubishi Mo­tors Philip­pines Corp. which con­trib­uted 18.89% at 67,512 ve­hi­cles sold, down 8.3% from 2017’s 73,590; Nis­san Philip­pines, Inc. which con­trib­uted 9.78% at 34,952, up 39.8% from 24,995; Ford Mo­tor Com­pany Philip­pines, Inc. which ac­counted for 6.59% at 23,571, 35.6% less than 36,623 in 2017; and Honda Cars Philip­pines, Inc. which ac­counted for 6.52% at 23,294 ve­hi­cles, down 26.7% from 31,758 units in 2017.

“The auto in­dus­try has been re­cov­er­ing since the sec­ond half of 2018. We are con­fi­dent that the con­tin­ued month-on-month pos­i­tive sales growth rate dur­ing that pe­riod will be sus­tained in 2019,” CAMPI Pres­i­dent Rom­mel R. Gu­tier­rez said in the state­ment. “With GDP per capita on a high level, more new ve­hi­cle mod­els to be in­tro­duced and a strong econ­omy, we wel­come the new year with great ex­cite­ment.”

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