Manila Bulletin

PH auto sales surge on at­trac­tive fi­nanc­ing

- By NEIL JEROME MO­RALES Business · Finance · Cars · Consumer Goods · Investing · Automotive Industry · Industries · Philippines · Indonesia · Thailand · Malaysia · Manila · Japan · Toyota Motor Corporation · Toyota · Mitsubishi Motors · Mitsubishi Group · Lambogini

Once a back­wa­ter in South­east Asian auto mar­kets, the Philip­pines is now head­ing for a third straight year of record auto sales on strong con­sumer spend­ing and easy fi­nanc­ing while weak eco­nomic growth squeezes on­ce­buoy­ant neigh­bors.

Data from the Cham­ber of Automotive Man­u­fac­tur­ers of the Philip­pines Inc. (CAMPI) point to sales of 310,000 ve­hi­cles this year, up nearly a third from last year – and roughly dou­ble the tally in 2012. The growth could be sus­tained in the com­ing years partly due to the gov­ern­ment's un­veil­ing of a long-awaited $600-mil­lion in­cen­tive scheme ear­lier this year.

While the Philip­pines is only the re­gion's fourth-big­gest mar­ket, sales are fall­ing in the top three – In­done­sia, Thai­land and Malaysia. The trend is fu­el­ing in­dus­try hopes in Manila that au­tomak­ers like Ja­pan's Toy­ota Mo­tor Corp and Mit­subishi Mo­tors Corp., dom­i­nant in the Philip­pines, may boost in­vest­ment in lo­cal pro­duc­tion fa­cil­i­ties to draw on a widen­ing growth pool.

"Auto sales con­tinue to be strong be­cause of the steady growth of buy­ing ca­pac­ity of cus­tomers," CAMPI Pres­i­dent Rom­mel Gu­tier­rez told Reuters in a text mes­sage. "Fi­nanc­ing com­pa­nies are also of­fer­ing at­trac­tive fi­nanc­ing pack­ages which make pur­chas­ing ve­hi­cles eas­ier."

Surg­ing auto sales have been ac­com­pa­nied by a jump in to­tal auto loans, up a record 26 per­cent in the first quar­ter to 244.6 bil­lion pe­sos ($5.24 bil­lion), ac­cord­ing to cen­tral bank data. As the Philip­pine mid­dle class grows, and avails it­self of the car pur­chase perks from Manila, mar­ket leader Toy­ota has strong hopes for en­try-level ve­hi­cles like its Wigo hatch­back and Vios com­pact sedan. (Reuters)

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