Year-to-date car sales down even as they steady in Feb.

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A SLIGHT ANNUAL PICKUP of automobile sales in February was unable to send year-to-date performance into positive territory, according to latest joint data from the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. and the Truck Manufacturers Association that were e-mailed to journalists on Monday.

Their latest report showed that sales edged up by 0.6% to 26,327 units last month from the year-ago 26,176, but were still 2.1% less than January’s 26,888.

Vehicle Sales in the Philippines

Some 8,471 passenger cars were sold last month — accounting for 32.18% of total industry sales — about 3.4% more than the year-ago 8,192 units but 0.19% less than January’s 8,487.

Commercial vehicle sales, which accounted for 67.82% of February’s total sales, decreased 0.7% to 17,856 units from the 17,984 recorded in February 2018 and by a bigger three percent from January’s 18,401.

Under the commercial vehicles category, last month’s sales of Asian utility vehicles fell 59.2% to 2,227 units from 5,463 a year ago and by 7.6% from January’s 2,410, while those of light commercial vehicles rose 25.2% to 14,449 units in February from 11,540 a year ago even as the latest tally was still 3.9% less than January’s 15,037 units.

Year-to-date automobile sales totaled 53,215 units, down eight percent from the 57,821 units registered in 2018’s comparable two months.

Year-to-date passenger car sales thinned 5.7% to 16,958 units while those of commercial vehicles dropped nine percent to 36,257 units.

The auto industry had said it anticipates a gradual recovery in sales to register 10% growth from 2018. The year 2018 saw local car sales fall the first time in seven years, sliding 16% to 357,410 units from 2017 amid higher automobile excise taxes, acceleration of inflation and high oil prices.

Year-to-date, Toyota Motors Philippines Corp. continued to top the list with a 38.75% market share with 20,622 units sold, down 10.5%. It was followed by Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp. with 10,439 units sold, or 19.62%, down 18.6% and Nissan Philippines, Inc. with 6,623 units, or 12.45%, up 73.9%. — J. C. Lim