Car importers’ sales drop 25% in January

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THE Association of Vehicle Importers and Distributors, Inc. (AVID) said January sales fell over 25% year on year, noting that the market’s appetite for new vehicles remains weak.

In a statement sent to reporters Thursday, AVID said sales of imported cars fell 25.33% year on year to 6,493 units.

Car importers, who have no domestic assembly operations, mainly focus on high-end vehicles, with the exception of those produced by Hyundai Motor Co., which tend to compete in high-volume segments.

Sales in the car segment declined 29% in January to 2,254 units. Hyundai-brand sales accounted for 64.02% or 1,443 units.

The association said the consumer outlook remained “conservative” after 2018, when the market was dampened by new taxes, high oil prices and inflation.

Sales in the local commercial vehicle (LCV) segment dropped 23.17% to 4,154 units, led by Ford Motor Co. with 1,749 units, or 42.10% of the total.

In the commercial vehicle segment, AVID sold 85 units in January, down 19.05% from a year earlier. Hyundai also topped the segment with a total of 64 units, with the remainder, 21 units, sold by JAC Automobile Int’l Philippines, Inc.

“AVID expects the industry to pick up as it tries to invigorate the market with new and innovative products in the pipeline for 2019,” AVID President Ma. Fe Perez-Agudo was quoted in the statement.

In 2018, AVID sales dropped 16.55% to 88,700.

This year, the group is projecting 10% sales growth amid easing inflation and a loosening of monetary policy. — Janina C. Lim