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February 22, 2009

Philippines: Car sales remain flat in January
Philippine vehicle sales remained flat in January this year as consumers became more finicky with their purchases, a local online news website reported quoting the country’s carmakers’ association.

Vehicles sold for the first month this year reached 8,791 units, 0.2 percent lower than the same period in 2008 as consumers considered factors including price, fuel efficiency, and value for money, GMA news quoted the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines (Campi) as saying.

Sales of passenger cars rose 14.2 percent to 3,384 units in January. This year’s new car models are expected to bring about higher sales, Campi said.

Meanwhile, commercial vehicles raked in more than half of total sales for the period, or an estimated 62 percent of total volumes, comprising 5,407 units sold. However, sales figures for this segment were still 7.5 percent lower this month compared to the same period last year.

As with sales of the passenger car segment, commercial vehicles are also expected to pick up as soon as companies begin to undertake fleet purchases and stocks return to normal levels.

Demand for dual purpose vehicles such as vans, pick-up trucks, and all-purpose utility vehicles will stabilize as well.

Sales of AUVs for the first month this year were 24.8 percent lower compared to the same period last year as low stocks and rising prices discouraged purchases.

However, sales in the light commercial vehicle segment – which includes pickups, vans, and full-size SUVs – climbed this year, 3.1 percent higher than last year. Purchases were helped by new models and the inherent advantage of duel purpose utility vehicles.

Similarly, light truck purchases increased in January, 27.4 percent higher than January last year. Overall, Campi remained optimistic of sustaining sales in the coming months.

“Sales are expected to be sustained in the coming months although an increase in prices may be seen should the yen continue to remain strong against the greenback," Campi president Elizabeth Lee said.

“Thankfully, inflation rates are much lower compared to previous months and the financing environment remains stable allowing consumers to take out loans to finance their needs," she added.

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