Auto sales up 8.7% in Aug. – CAMPI, TMA

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CAR sales in August rose by 8.7% to 35,309 as most vehicle categories continued to post double-digit growth, the latest industry tally show, bringing automakers closer to their yearend goal.

The month’s sales report raised the year-to-date total to 268,424 units, up 16.7% year-on-year, according to the joint report from the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (CAMPI) and Truck Manufacturers Association (TMA).

“August sales results remained stable, driven by the good sales performance of key models from major manufacturers,” said CAMPI President Rommel R. Gutierrez.

Also driving the month’s sales growth is “the competitive promotional support and marketing activities to further push vehicles,” said Mr. Gutierrez, who is also first vice-president for government and industry affairs of Toyota Motor Philippines Corp.

August sales growth, however, was slower than the previous month’s 23.3% when 36,951 units were sold.

On a month-on-month comparison, sales for August were lower for both light commercial vehicles and passenger cars.

Sales of light commercial vehicles slipped by 0.8% to 24,051 unit month-on-month. Passenger car sales were also lower by 11.4% at 11,258 units. Asian utility vehicles also declined to 6,864 units, down 11.6%.

In August, Mr. Gutierrez said that despite the sales growth in July, carmakers remained cautious as they entered the second half of the year.

During the eight-month period, commercial vehicles cornered the biggest share at 66.05% with a total of 177,285 units sold, up 22.3% from a year earlier.

Light commercial vehicles followed with a share of 63.64% for the 112,827 units sold during the January-August period, which had sales growing by 19.4% year-on-year.

Passenger cars accounted for the third-biggest share at 33.95%, followed by Asian utility vehicles at 30.31%. Light trucks along with trucks and buses accounted for a share in the single digits or less.

Toyota Motor maintained its lead as the top-selling car company in the Philippines with a market share of 44.1%. It was followed by Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp. with a share of 17.68%. Ford Motor Co. Philippines, Inc. came out third with a 8.51% share.

Isuzu Philippines Corp. and Honda Car Philippines Inc. round out the top five with a share of 6.84% and 6.71%, respectively.

CAMPI is expecting car sales this year to hit 450,000, a record for the industry, which has been enjoying robust monthly sales in part due to easier financing programs and consumers’ greater spending power. The association is the biggest grouping in the Philippine automotive industry. – Victor V. Saulon