By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
After a slow start this year, the domestic automotive industry managed to end the first semester on a flat growth indicating an encouraging growth trend for the second semester which historically drive growth for the entire year, data from the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc. (CAMPI) said.
Total sales for the first semester slightly grew 1.46 percent to 174,135 units from 171,635 units in the same period last year. Of this figure, the passenger car segment contributed 52,418 units or 6.4 percent lower than the 56,029 units in the first six months of 2018.
The commercial vehicle segment accounted for the bulk of sales with 69.9 percent increase to 121,717 units, reflecting a 5.3 percent increase from 115,606 units in the same period last year.
In terms of categories, the biggest hike in sales was posted by the light commercial vehicle or the sports utility vehicles with 23.1 percent increase to 98,783 units from 80,248 units in the first half of 2018. Sales of light trucks also improved by 8.8 percent to 3,778 units from 3,473 units.
However, sales of Asian utility vehicles registered the biggest dip of 42.9 percent to 16,147 units from 28,279 units in the first half of 2018. Sales of trucks and buses under Category 5 also dropped by 42.2 percent to 664 units from 1,149 units. In addition, sales of category 4 trucks and buses declined by 4.6 percent to 2,345 units from 2,457 units in the first half of 2018.
On a monthly basis, June boosted the first semester sales with a 22 percent increase versus the month of June in 2018 with 9,532 units from 7,811 units in June last year. The commercial vehicle segment also contributed 3.9 percent increase to 22,418 units from 21,584 units in June last year.
“We remain very optimistic that the local auto industry is already on a path of steady growth after we conclude the first half of the year on a positive note,” said Atty. Rommel Gutierrez, President of CAMPI. “The automotive brands’ collective efforts, highlighted by fleet sales, good financing deals, and model updates and upgrades, show that we have learned to adjust and adapt to market conditions thus helping consumers acquire new vehicles with fewer hurdles.”
2019’s first half sales is 1.6% higher versus same period in 2018 – the year when Filipinos car purchase decision-making was heavily influenced by economic factors such as rising oil prices, unstable inflation rate and the application of excise tax on vehicles.
For the month of June this year, Toyota, Mitsubishi, and Nissan are the 3 top-sellers, retaining the positions they held in May. Differing from the trend commonly seen in 2018, several brands namely Kia, Suzuki, Nissan and Toyota registered positive growth for the last month of 2019’s first half.
Most CAMPI members likewise remain optimistic as they project stable to higher sales next month.
Toyota Motor Philippines slightly increased by 0.4 percent to 73,454 units followed by Mitsubishi Motors Philippines with 31,210 units and Nissan Philippines Inc. with 21,060 units.
Notably, Nissan Philippines posted the highest increase in the first semester with 59.3 percent mark-up from its 13,222 units sold in the first semester of 2018. Ford Motor Co. Philippines ended up fourth with 11,227 units sold.
Also worth mentioning is Suzuki Philippines which climbed to the fifth slot with sales of 10,817 units or 14.4 percent higher than the 9,455 units sold in the same period last year.