A general view of the traffic along EDSA. — PHILIPPINE STAR/MICHAEL VARCAS

NEW VEHICLE SALES grew by an annual 9.5% in September, the slowest pace in 19 months, according to the joint report by the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (CAMPI) and the Truck Manufacturers Association (TMA).

The CAMPI-TMA report showed new vehicle sales increased to 38,628 units in September from 35,282 units in the same month a year ago.

“We recorded the highest monthly sales performance in September and we hope that a positive consumer outlook will be sustained in (the fourth quarter),” CAMPI President Rommel R. Gutierrez said in a statement.

Auto SalesAuto Sales (September 2023)However, September saw the end of 18 straight months of double-digit growth. At 9.5%, this was the weakest expansion in 19 months or since the 7.3% contraction in February 2022.

Month on month, vehicle sales went up by 5.2%.

Mr. Gutierrez said vehicle sales were driven by “promotional campaigns and new model launches in August.”

Data showed commercial vehicles accounted for two-thirds of the sales in September. Commercial vehicle sales rose by 6.5% to 29,070 units in September from 27,306 units in the same month last year.

Month on month, commercial vehicle sales went up by 9.2% from 26,620 units in August.

Broken down, light commercial vehicle sales inched up by 4.6% to 23,098 units, while sales of Asian utility vehicles went up by 14.9% to 4,955 units in September.

Sales of light trucks increased by 21.7% to 611 units in September, but sales of medium and heavy trucks declined by 2.4% and 5.8% to 325 and 81 units, respectively.

Meanwhile, passenger car sales jumped by 19.8% to 9,558 units in September from 7,976 units a year ago.

Month on month, sales of passenger cars dropped by 5.31% from 10,094 units in August.

Despite the slower growth in September, CAMPI-TMA members sold 314,843 units in the nine-month period, up by 26.9% from 248,154 units a year ago.

Mr. Gutierrez said the nine-month tally puts the industry on track to fully recover this year.

“The automotive market has remained resilient since 2021 and the current trend indicates that we will breach the highest pre-pandemic sales performance and achieve full industry recovery in 2023,” said Mr. Gutierrez.

CAMPI revised its 2023 sales target last month to 423,000 units from 395,000 units previously. If realized, this would be 20% higher than the 352,596 sales in 2022.

For the January-to-September period, commercial vehicle sales increased by 24.8% to 234,834 units, while passenger car sales rose by 33.2% to 80,009 units.

Toyota Motor Philippines Corp. remained the market leader with a 45.81% share as nine-month sales rose by 15.5% to 144,232 units.

Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp. came in second spot with a 65.2% increase in sales to 58,065 units in the first three quarters.

In third spot was Ford Motor Co. Phils., Inc. as sales jumped by 42.2% to 23,091 units.

Rounding out the top five were Nissan Philippines, Inc., which saw a 24.7% increase in sales to 20,037 units, and Suzuki Phils., Inc. whose sales fell by 6.8% to 13,490 units. — Justine Irish D. Tabile