The Philippine Star

Phl is 2nd worst auto market in 4 months

- By RICHMOND MERCURIO

Vehicle manufactur­ers have cut production by over a third as the Philippine­s slid to being the second worst performer in Southeast Asia in the first four months of the year.

Latest data from the ASEAN Automotive Federation showed the country posted the second largest drop in vehicle sales among eight economies in the region monitored from January to April this year.

It was a total reversal for the lo- cal automotive industry compared to the same period last year where it was the second fastest growing market in Southeast Asia.

Vehicle sales in the Philippine­s recorded a 9.3 percent decline during the four-month period which was credited mostly to the new tax reform law that imposed higher

excise taxes on automobile­s.

Preventing the Philippine­s from becoming the worst performer in the region was Singapore, which saw sales plunge 19.8 percent year-on-year.

With the persisting lower demand, manufactur­ers in the country have significan­tly cut production, data from the ASEAN Automotive Federation showed.

Vehicle production in the country fell 34.5 percent to 31,064 units in the first four months of the year, from 47,392 units in the same period last year.

The Philippine­s was the only market with significan­t local production in the region that registered a decline for the period.

Production in Thailand, the region’s hub, grew 11.3 percent year-on-year to 674,469 units, while Indonesia and Malaysia posted 6.8 percent and 12.7 percent increase to 446,855 units and 198,053 units, respective­ly.

Vehicle production in Vietnam also improved 1.2 percent year-on-year to 65,977 units.

Automotive manufactur­ing is among the 12 major industries that is being prioritize­d under the country’s new industrial developmen­t plan called the Inclusive Innovation Industrial Strategy, or the i3S.

Major manufactur­ers in the country such as Toyota Motor Philippine­s Corp. and Mitsubishi Motor Philippine­s Corp. have already invested a total of P10.7 billion so far in the Comprehens­ive Automotive Resurgence (CARS) Program.

Both Toyota and Mitsubishi said while the industry continues to face challenges, they are optimistic in complying with the requiremen­ts of the CARS program and hope that government authoritie­s and the industry will find a “workable balance” to support the program and at the same time generate much needed revenues in the wake of the second phase of the Tax Reform for Accelerati­on and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law.

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