Vehicle sales off to weak start across categories

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VEHICLE SALES slid 15% in January from a year ago, weighed down by reductions across categories, according to data released on Monday by the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. and the Truck Manufacturers Association.

The latest data showed that total sales fell to 26,888 units last month from 31,645 sold in January 2018.

The passenger car sales — which accounted for about 31.56% of the industry total — stood at 8,487 units for the month, down 13.3% from the 9,790 sold a year ago.

Purchases of commercial vehicles — which accounted for around 68.44% — totaled 18,401 units in January, dropping 15.8% from the 21,855 units in the same month last year.

The month’s sales of Asian utility vehicles, a sub-segment of commercial vehicles, slumped 58.5% to 2,410 units from January 2018’s 5,811 units.

Light commercial vehicles slipped 1.2% to 15,037 units from 15,218 units in the same comparative months.

Month-on-month, car sales were down 15.8% from December 2018’s 31,945 units.

Toyota Motors Philippines Corp. continued to lead with a 42.23% market share at 11,355 vehicles sold in January, though down 14.1% from a year ago.

It was followed by Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp. with a share of 19.48% at 5,239 units, down 22.5%; and Nissan Philippines, Inc. with 11.53% at 3,100 units, up 55%.

Following in their wake were Honda Car Philippines, Inc.; Ford Motor Co. Philippines, Inc. and Suzuki Phil’s. Inc. with shares of 7.23% (1,943 units, down 8.6%), 6.66% (1,790 units, down 34.6%) and 4.82% (1,296 units, down 31.9%) respectively.

The industry hopes to recover with a 10% growth in sales this year.

In 2018, car sales fell for the first time in seven years, declining 16% to 357,410 units from 2017.

The acceleration of inflation rate and new auto excise taxes weighed on the industry’s growth last year. — Janina C. Lim