HYUNDAI Asia Resources Inc. (HARI) car sales dropped 6.1% in 2019 after participating in fewer market segments.

In a statement, the Hyundai distributor said car sales last year reached 33,763 units compared with 35,401 units in 2018.

The company said the decline is “mainly due to the company’s non-participation in some market segments, such as that of the Pick-ups.”

Sales have not recovered from the effects of vehicle taxes implemented at the beginning of 2018, with Hyundai car sales dropping 6% in 2018 from 37,678 units sold in 2017.

December 2019 sales grew 2.9% to 3,163 units compared with the same month last year.

HARI President and Chief Executive Officer Ma. Fe Perez-Agudo said in the statement that the company maintains its position as a preferred brand in the Philippine market.

“We are very excited to start the new decade with the introduction of innovative models that will disrupt certain segments and offer customers more and better choices. We shall also carry on with our aggressive PC (passenger car) and CV (commercial vehicle) network expansion to serve high-growth corridors across the country,” she said.

Passenger car sales fell 10.8% to 17,761 in 2019, while light commercial vehicles slipped 2.6% to 15,095.

Commercial vehicle sales more than doubled to 907 sold last year, compared with 555 in 2018. This was largely driven by Hyundai County bus sales.

In 2020, HARI anticipates a continued surge in commercial vehicle sales as it expects government programs to improve public transportation to drive demand.

Last year, HARI launched its Class 1-3 modern jeepneys, which have been granted certificates of compliance by the Department of Transportation.

The government in November said that roadworthy older jeepneys may continue to operate after 2020. Its modernization program to phase out and replace old jeepneys has been criticized for its costs to jeepney drivers.

“For 2020, you can trust that Hyundai will continue to exceed customer expectations with newer models, innovations in After-Sales, and more convenient ownership, and relevant CSR engagement through H.A.R.I Foundation, Inc.’s flagship programs in health, education, and environmental sustainability,” Ms. Agudo said.

“Ultimately, we want to be an integral part of our customers’ lives as we give them better products, better services, and better journeys,” she added. —Jenina P. Ibañez