Back on track? The opening day of the Philippine International Motor Show, staged by the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (CAMPI), saw crowds return to take in an automotive smorgasbord of offerings. — PHOTO BY KAP MACEDA AGUILA

By Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

LOCAL VEHICLE sales are seen to hit pre-pandemic levels by next year as the industry continues to recover, according to the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (CAMPI).

“The pre-pandemic (figure) was really 400,000 plus (in sales). It’s really a good sign. We think it’s just a matter of time that, maybe next year, we will be able to reach pre-pandemic levels,” CAMPI President Atty. Rommel R. Gutierrez said in an interview during the first day of the 8th Philippine International Motor Show (PIMS) in Pasay City last Sept. 15.

“The supply is improving and consumer confidence is there, and we have a lot of promos that are being implemented. The models being introduced are already impressive. Plus the 8th PIMS will push people to buy cars,” he added.

For the remaining months of 2022, Atty. Gutierrez expects a surge in vehicles sales on the back of higher consumer spending.

“Normally (in) December, toward the end of the year, sales (pick) up. We are happy that, as of now, recovery is doing good and we hope that this will continue until the end of the year,” he explained.

CAMPI and the Truck Manufacturers Association (TMA) are eyeing to reach a sales target of 336,000 units in 2022, up by 17% from the 268,488 vehicles sold last year. “We are right on track. We are confident that we will reach that (2022 target),” declared Atty. Gutierrez.

A recent joint report by CAMPI and TMA showed that vehicle sales from January to August 2022 climbed by 25.1% to 212,872 units from 170,112 units in the similar period a year ago. The report also showed that sales of CAMPI-TMA members in August 2022 surged 90.5% to 30,185 units versus 15,847 units sold in the same month in 2021 (see related item below).

Of the total for August, commercial vehicle sales accounted for 78% or 23,452 units while sales of passenger cars accounted for 22% or 6,733 units. Compared to the previous month, overall car sales in August also increased by 8.5% versus 27,813 units sold in July.

“With the return of the 8th PIMS this month, there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic of having a stronger year after a period of lower sales achievement because of the pandemic,” he said.