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Auto groups cite ‘record’ Q1 increase

Posted on April 11, 2017

VEHICLE sales grew by more than a fifth year on year last quarter, local car and truck manufacturers said in a statement on Monday that cited “another record increase.”

Data jointly released by the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (CAMPI) and Truck Manufacturers Association (TMA) showed 36,561 units sold last month, up by 32.9% from 27,515 in March 2016 and 35.2% from February’s 27,040 units.

The latest tally brought first-quarter vehicle sales to 94,026 units, up 23% from the year-ago 76,473 record.

CAMPI President Rommel R. Gutierrez, first vice-president at Toyota Motor Philippines Corp., said in a mobile phone message yesterday that auto industry sales -- including those of the Association of Vehicle Importers and Distributors, Inc. (AVID) -- can be expected “to hit 440,000-450,000 in 2017.”

The entire industry last year beat a 370,000-unit sales target, with CAMPI and TMA jointly accounting for 359,572 units and AVID, which has overlapping membership with the other two groups, reporting 93,179.

CAMPI and TMA said in its joint statement on Monday that both passenger car and commercial vehicle segments had “robust sales” due to new model introductions, aggressive marketing promotions and attractive financing offers.

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Commercial vehicles contributed the biggest chunk to CAMPI-TMA sales at 67.58% with 24,708 units sold last month, up 52.8% annually from 16,170. This segment accounted for 66.02% at 62,075 in the first quarter, up 33% from a year-ago 46,677.

Light commercial vehicles (LCVs) contributed the second-biggest tally at 65.85% with 16,271 units sold in March, 49.6% more than a year-ago 10,876. This category contributed 63.85% with 39,636 sales in the first quarter, 29.4% more than a year-ago 30,625.

Passenger car sales contributed 32.42% in March at 11,853, 4.5% more than the year-ago 11,345. Year-to-date, this group accounted for 33.98% at 31,951 units, up 7.2% from first-quarter 2016’s 29,796.

Asian utility vehicles (AUVs) came next with 28.01% at 6,921 in March, 56.4% more than a year-ago 4,425. Year-to-date, this segment contributed 30.08% at 18,672, 37.1% more than the 13,624 units sold in the first quarter of last year.

Sales of commercial vehicles -- a category that groups AUVs, LCVs, trucks and buses -- grew 33% to 62,075 units last quarter from 46,677 vehicles sold in 2016’s comparable three months.

“While the first-quarter performance gives us reason to be optimistic, we are still cautious about our own target for the year,” Mr. Gutierrez was quoted as saying.

Among others, vehicle vendors have warned of the impact on demand posed by higher excise taxes Congress targets to approve within the year, as well as rising interest rates and an unstable foreign exchange environment. -- ICCD