IMPORTED car sales almost quadrupled in May compared with the level in the same month last year as lockdown restrictions loosen, latest industry data show.

In a report on Thursday, the Association of Vehicle Importers and Distributors, Inc. (AVID) said vehicle sales of its 21 members carrying 26 global brands in May surged 293% to 4,864 units from 1,239 in the same month in 2020.

Restrictions during the start of the pandemic had dampened consumer activity, with some dealerships just starting to reopen in mid-May 2020 after lockdown rules were relaxed.

May 2021 sales also grew 8% compared with the April figure as companies sold more light commercial vehicles. Metro Manila and adjacent provinces were under a modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), a stricter lockdown measure, to curb a spike in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infections until May 14.

Year-to-date sales rose 59% to 25,217 vehicles from 15,811 in the first five months of 2020.

Passenger car sales in May increased by 191% to 1,029 vehicles compared to last year, led by sales from Suzuki Philippines, Inc. The category’s year-to-date sales went up 29% to 6,357 units.
Light commercial vehicle sales surged 335% to 3,814 in May, with a bulk of sales going to Ford Group Philippines, Inc. Year-to-date sales went up 68% to 18,128 units.

AVID sold 21 commercial vehicles in May, or 133% more than the nine sold in the same month last year. But this figured dropped 93% from the 293 sold a month earlier. Year-to-date sales rose 625% to 732 units.

“We attribute the gradual improvement in AVID sales to our members’ tireless commitment to provide customers with quality vehicles and after sales service that will see them safely through life’s many journeys,” AVID President Ma. Fe Perez-Agudo said.

Another car industry group recorded a 360.8% sales surge to 22,062 units in May. Sales had jumped 23.6% from April, data from the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (CAMPI) and Truck Manufacturers Association (TMA) showed.

Imported car sales growth in 2021 is expected to come in at between zero and 20%, depending on the government’s final decision on safeguard duties, Ms. Perez-Agudo said in March. — Jenina P. Ibañez