Vehicle sales soared 88 percent in March on low base effect from a year ago when the government first imposed a nationwide lockdown at the start of the pandemic, data from two industry groups showed Tuesday.
The Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc. and Truck Manufacturers Association said in a joint report combined sales of their members reached 20,706 units in March, up from 11,029 vehicles delivered in the same month last year. Prior to the pandemic, the two groups sold 32,173 vehicles in March 2019.
Sales of passenger cars increased 111.1 percent in March from a year ago, while orders for commercial vehicle went up by 78.2 percent.
The figures brought total sales in the first quarter of 2021 to 70,312 units, up 8.9 percent from 64,642 units purchased in the same quarter last year. However, they were lower than the pre-pandemic sales of 85,388 units in the first quarter of 2019.
Data also showed that on a month-on-month basis, automotive sales fell 21.1 percent to 20,702 units in March from 26,230 units in February, representing a slowdown as the government enforced stricter community quarantine in the “NCR Plus” bubble, spanning Metro Manila and the provinces of Bulacan, Rizal, Cavite and Laguna.
Passenger car sales dropped 15.67 percent to 6,661 units in March from 7,899 units in February while commercial vehicle sales declined by 23.4 percent to 14,041 units from 18,331 units.
CAMPI said the decline in monthly sales was the result of the impact of the imposition of safeguard duties on imported vehicles and the recent lockdown restrictions.
“The auto industry felt the slowdown in sales due to the reluctance of buyers with the additional deposit for some imported vehicles because of the provisional safeguard duty. The lockdown also forced dealers to close operations that badly hit the already struggling auto industry,” said CAMPI president Rommel Gutierrez.
Gutierrez said the enhanced community quarantine announcement limited mobility and restricted automotive operations against in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.
Total passenger car sales grew by 22.9 percent in the first quarter to 21,855 units from 17,787 units in the same period in 2020, while demand for commercial vehicle sales moved up 3.6 percent to 48,457 units from 46,756 units.
Toyota Motor Philippines Corp. continued to dominate the industry in the first quarter with 47.07-percent market share, followed Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp. with 16.77 percent.
Completing the five best-sellers were Nissan Philippines Inc. and Ford Motor Company Philippines Inc. with 7.39-percent each and Suzuki Philippines Inc. with 6.68 percent.
Total sales of the two industry groups fell 39.6 percent in 2020 to 276,232 vehicles from 457,110 units in 2019.0