Heavy traffic is seen along the southbound lane of EDSA in Quezon City, April 18. — PHILIPPINE STAR/ MIGUEL DE GUZMAN

THE PHILIPPINE auto industry saw a 64.2% increase in sales in September, driven by strong demand for commercial vehicles.

A joint report by the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (CAMPI) and Truck Manufacturers Association (TMA) released on Tuesday showed vehicle sales rose to 35,282 in September, from 21,4923 sold in the same month a year ago.

“The automotive industry continues its growth momentum, recording a double-digit growth of 64.2% in September driven by the increased demand for new motor vehicles,” CAMPI President Rommel R. Gutierrez said in a statement.

CAMPI-TMA said this is the seventh straight month the industry has posted double-digit annual growth.

Month on month, total vehicle sales went up by 16.9%.

In September, passenger vehicle sales jumped by 21.2% to 7,976.

Commercial vehicle sales surged by 83.1% year on year to 27,306, due to the 84.5% increase in light commercial vehicles to 22,073 and the 109% rise in sales of Asian utility vehicles (AUV) to 4,312.

There has been increased demand for commercial vehicles after the House Ways and Means Committee approved in August the fourth package of the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program which included the elimination of the excise tax exemption for pickup trucks.

Under Republic Act No. 10963 or the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion, pickup trucks are exempted from excise tax as part of efforts to assist small business owners and professionals.

For the first nine months of 2022, CAMPI-TMA members sold 248,154 units, up by 29.5% year on year.

Commercial vehicle sales jumped by 44% to 188,096 units, on the back of double-digit growth in AUVs and light commercial vehicle sales in the January to September period. Light commercial vehicle sales rose by 48% to 148,706, while AUV sales jumped by 38.8% to 32,186.

However, sales of passenger cars shrank by 1.5% to 60,058 units in the nine-month period.

“The automotive industry foresees a continued growth in the latter part of the year, benefiting from the improving economy based on the recent growth forecast of 6.5% this year – attributed to strong domestic demand and continued easing of pandemic restrictions,” Mr. Gutierrez said.

The industry is targeting to sell 336,000 units this year, 17% higher than the 268,488 units sold in 2021.

Toyota Motor Philippines Corp. accounted for half of the industry’s sales with 124,884 units in the January to September period, up 35% year on year.

Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp. had a 14% market share with 35,139 units sold, while Ford Motor Co. Phils. Inc. had a 6.55% market share with 16,244 units sold.

Nissan Philippines, Inc.’s market share stood at 6.48% with sales of 16,068, while Suzuki Phils, Inc. had a share of 5.83% with sales of 14,475. — R.M.D.Ochave