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26 March 2010

Philippines auto club expects car sales to grow 4% in 2010

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Encouraged by the strong automotive growth in the first two months of the year, the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc. (CAMPI) will revise upward its 4 percent sales growth target once the full third quarter results come in, reported the Manila Bulletin.

CAMPI president Elizabeth H. Lee told reporters at the launch of Murano, Universal Motors Corporation’s newest luxury sports vehicle addition, the industry is pretty bullish this year given the heavy election spending and strong economic indicators.

“After the first quarter, we will take a look at sales and how much we are revising it,” Lee said. In 2009, car sales grew 6.4 percent to 132,244 units versus 2008, surpassing its forecast of a high of only 4 percent at the beginning of the year and bucking a declining regional trend.

The move to revise car targets upward followed after a strong sales performance in the first two months of the year.

Total car sales went up 36.6 percent in the first two months this year, an all-time high year to date growth since 1996 as February sales of 12,573 units bringing the year to date sales to 24,336 units versus 17,818 units in the same period last year.

The second highest growth year to date was for January-February period in 2003 which posted cumulative growth of over 32.6 percent.

The February sales alone of 12,573 units posted a much higher growth of 39.3 percent versus January sales of 11,763 units.

"Confidence is getting stronger with entrepreneurs' increased aggressiveness in expanding their businesses. Funds typically sourced from stronger than expected OFW remittances are now being put to better use – through investments – as Filipinos get more educated and exposed to various instruments that yield a higher return for their hard earned money. Increased business activity comes with the increase in vehicle sales," said.

Lee further said that the election is also beefing up industry sales.

“But without the strong fundamentals that include a healthy financing environment, vehicle sales may not be as robust. The fundamentals must be strong as well," Lee added.

Of the total vehicle sales, the passenger car segment posted a 28 percent increase to 8,360 units from 6,350 in the same first two months last year.

On the other hand, the commercial vehicle posted a significant 41.5 percent growth to 15,976 units from 11,288 units in the same period last year with sales of light commercial vehicles ramping up sales by 47.4 percent to 10,439 units from 7,083 units in the same January-February period last year.

Sales of Asian utility vehicles also posted a considerable 36.8 percent increase to 5,244 units from 3,834 units in the same period last year.

The only sore in the auto sales report are from the light trucks and buses segments, which posted negative growth.

Sales of light trucks went down by 14.4 percent to 225 units from 263 in the first two months of 2009 while the trucks and buses segment also dropped substantially by 37 percent to 68 units from 108 units.


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