THE Association of Vehicle Importers and Distributors, Inc. (AVID) posted a 12% rise in sales of imported vehicles in April, driven by demand for light commercial vehicles and passenger cars.

In a statement on Thursday, the AVID said it sold 7,259 units in April versus the 6,476 units sold in April 2018.

Light commercial vehicles (LCV), which account for nearly two-thirds of April sales, reported 13% rise in sales to 4,534 units from 4,029 units a year ago.

Passenger car (PC) sales during the month increased 12% to 2,614 units from 2,342 units registered in April last year.

Sales of commercial vehicles (CV) jumped 6% to 111 units from 105 units a year ago.

AVID noted that year-to-date sales rose for the first time this year. January to April sales inched up 0.2% to 29,458 units from the 29,411 sold in the comparable period last year.

PC sales declined by 8% in the first four months of the year to 10,528 units from 11,451 units in the same period in 2018. Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc., accounted for 66% of AVID’s PC sales during the period, followed by Suzuki at 24%.

Sales of LCVs climbed 5% to 18,483 units from 17,520 units a year ago. The segment was led by Ford Group Philippines, Inc. (40%), Hyundai (29%), and Suzuki Philippines, Inc. (22%).

CV sales during the four-month period expanded 2% as 447 units were sold versus the 440 units a year ago. Hyundai accounts for 74% of the segment’s sales while the JAC Automobile International Philippines, Inc. contributed to the remaining share.

“We are pleased to finally see growth in the first four months, coming from a lackluster first quarter,” AVID President Ma. Fe Perez-Agudo was quoted in a statement Thursday.

“The strong April performance signifies that demand for automotive vehicles is slowly increasing, eventually leading to what we forecast as a strong industry recovery.”

AVID is cautiously optimistic that sales will still improve in the next few months.

“We are bound to encounter headwinds this year, including shifts in buying patterns and higher interest rates, but we are confident that the industry is geared to tackle such challenges,” Ms. Agudo added. — Janina C. Lim