MOTOR VEHICLE sales in the country continued their recovery in October as the industry recorded its “highest monthly sales” so far this year, the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (CAMPI) and the Truck Manufacturers Association (TMA) reported on Thursday.

Automotive sales have been growing since February, except for a seasonal dip in August.

Data jointly released by the groups showed that overall sales rose 3.8% to 34,397 units in October from 33,150 vehicles in the same month last year, and by 8.1% from 31,820 units sold in September.

CAMPI President Rommel R. Gutierrez described the latest growth clip as a “much-needed boost” for the industry to hit its target for the year. “The current market demand for vehicles along with creative and aggressive sales promotion efforts give us a positive outlook as we aim to sustain the growth trend for the remaining months of the year,” he said in a statement. “We remain positive that our industry target for the end of the year will be achieved as all brands remain committed to provide innovative mobility solutions to the Filipino people.”

Mr. Gutierrez last year projected a 10% sales growth for full-year 2019. Vehicle sales of CAMPI and TMA members dropped for the first time in seven years in 2018, with total sales falling 16% year-on-year to 357,410 units.

Year-to-date, both groups have so far sold 301,761 units, 2.53% more than the 294,311 vehicles sold in 2018.

Auto sales in October last year saw a 9.2% year-on-year drop after higher automobile excise taxes took effect earlier that year.

Broken down, this year’s October sales of commercial vehicles — which accounted for 70.69% of the total — went up by 2.6% to 24,314 units from 23,706 a year earlier. Asian Utility Vehicle sales rose 40.2% to 4,780 vehicles from 3,409 units, while light commercial vehicle sales dropped 3.3% to 18,271 vehicles from 18,896 units.

Passenger cars saw 6.8% sales growth to 10,083 vehicles from 9,444 a year earlier.

Year-to-date, commercial vehicle sales went up 3.8% to 211,361 units, while passenger car sales dropped 0.2% to 90,400 units.

Toyota Motors Philippines Corp. continued to have the biggest market share with 47.69%, selling 16,403 vehicles in October or 9.9% more than the 14,927 units sold a year ago.

It was followed by Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp. with 16.01% market share, even as sales dropped by 8.3% to 5,508 units from 6,004 a year ago.

Nissan Philippines retained the third spot with 10.75% market share as vehicle slipped 0.2% to 3,697 in October from 3,703.

Suzuki Philippines Inc. came next with 6.41% market share, growing sales by 11.8% to 2,206 units from 1,974.

Ford Motor Company Phils. Inc. followed with 4.78% market share, with sales up 1.1% to 1,643 from 1,625. — Jenina P. Ibañez