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NEWS UPDATES 11 May 2009

Philippine car sales slip in first 4 months

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Despite the 3.3-percent sales decline in the first four months of the year, the local auto industry remains confident it will achieve its original target of up to 4-percent sales growth for 2009, reported Philippines Business Mirror.

Elizabeth Lee, president of the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc. (Campi), was quoted by the online news site as saying that chamber members expect sales to pick up starting this month and make up for the lost ground in the traditionally bearish months of January to April.

“So there is no need to set a new target right now, especially since we are now in the ‘better sales’ months,” Lee said.

She said according to the auto sales seasonality in the country, the month of May is expected to yield much better results than April.

Campi reported over the weekend that the industry only managed to sell 9,988 units in April compared with 10,974 units in the same month last year, or a drop of 9 percent. As a result, this year’s January-to-April total sales went down to 38,552 units from 39,881 units in the same period last year.

But Lee said it is still not a cause for alarm, especially with the financing environment in the country still robust, coupled with strong inflows of remittances from the overseas Filipino workers.

“The next three months will be crucial. If we are still down, then we will discuss if it is time to revise the original target,” Lee said.

Passenger-car sales continue to be in the positive territory with a 2-percent year-to-date increment.

The number of commercial vehicles sold for the period, however, went down by 6.1 percent. Commercial vehicles, such as vans, pickups, AUVs, SUVs, buses and trucks, remain as the preferred vehicle types among Filipinos with a market share of 66.1 percent and total sales of 24,756 units.

Toyota remains as the market leader with total sales of 13,301 units for the period and a market share of 34.5 percent. It is followed by Mitsubishi with sales of 6,745 units, Honda with 5,876 units, Hyundai, 3,118 units; Isuzu, 2,251 units; Ford-Mazda, 2,104 units; Universal Motors Corp., 1,553 units; Columbian Autocar, 1,058; Suzuki, 674; and Nissan Motor Philippines, 543 units.


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