SALES of imported vehicles picked up in the first half, thanks to improved demand for passenger cars and commercial vehicles during the second quarter, according to the Association of Vehicle Importers and Distributors, Inc. (AVID)

In its latest report, AVID said sales rose by 1% to 43,333 units in the first six months of 2019, and by 5% to 21,134 units during the April to March period.

“Despite headwinds that include an economic slowdown in the first quarter of 2019, AVID posted a third straight month of positive growth to finish the second quarter strong. We believe that this slowdown is temporary since the Philippines is now on a higher growth path and is a leading economy in the ASEAN,” AVID President Ma. Fe Perez-Agudo said in a statement.

“Given these, we will continue to introduce exciting models and innovative services to give consumers more value for their money,” she added.

However, a strong second quarter failed to bring year-to-date passenger car (PC) sales to positive territory. Car sales slipped 4% to 15,336 units, despite a 7% rise in second quarter sales to 7,422 units.

Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc. (HARI) continued to sell the most number of passenger cars at 9,458 during the first half, although this was 13% lower than the 10,838 sold a year ago.

Suzuki Philippines, Inc. (SPI) generated 27% higher sales at 4,206 as of end-June, compared to 3,318 units sold a year ago.

For light commercial vehicles (LCV), sales increased 4% to 27,331 units during the first half. Second quarter LCV sales went up 4% to 13,383 units.

Ford Group Philippines, Inc. reported a 13% drop in LCV sales to 10,552 units in January to June period. HARI saw a 50% spike in sales to 7,690 units, while SPI sales jumped 8% to 6,611 units.

Year-to-date commercial vehicle sales rose 1% to 666, as second quarter sales inched up 2% to 329 units. Hyundai trucks and buses accounted for the bulk, with 500 units sold during the six-month period.