LIGHT commercial vehicle led the 33% year-on-year surge in imported car sales in June, capping an encouraging month for distributors’ “uphill struggle” during the pandemic.

In a report on Monday, the Association of Vehicle Importers and Distributors, Inc. (AVID) said vehicle sales of its 21 members carrying 26 global brands in June went up 33% to 4,936 units from 3,698 last year.

On a month-on-month comparison, sales in June went up by one percent from 4,871 in May. Sales in May almost quadrupled from May 2020 levels after lockdown restrictions were eased.

“It has been an uphill struggle for the automotive industry, more so among importers, but the recent numbers are encouraging. As our nation progresses towards achieving herd immunity, the automotive industry has proven resilient and poised to emerge stronger than ever,” AVID President Ma. Fe Perez-Agudo said.

Sales in the first half went up by 55% to 30,153 units compared with the figure in the same six months last year.

Among vehicle categories, passenger car sales in June increased by 13% to 1,350 units compared with the same month last year, led by sales from Suzuki Philippines, Inc. The category’s sales in the first half rose 26% to 7,707 units.

Light commercial vehicle sales in June grew 44% to 3,556 units, with a bulk of sales going to Ford Group Philippines, Inc. First half sales surged 64% to 21,684 vehicles.

AVID said that commercial vehicle sales slumped by 17% to 30 units, with Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc. selling 28. Sales in the first half grew by 45.6% to 762 units.

Another car industry group recorded 44.8% sales growth to 22,550 units in June compared with 15,578 units sold a year ago, a joint report 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