Automotive sales slumped 16 percent in 2018 to 357,410 units from a record 425,673 vehicles sold in 2017, on the combination of higher taxes and soaring oil prices that dampened demand, data from two industry groups show.
Total sales of the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc. and the Truck Manufacturers Association in 2018 were also lower than 359,572 units registered in 2016. The figures excluded sales of other industry groups such as the Association of Vehicle Importers and Distributors Inc.
Vehicle sales in December 2018 fell 29.8 percent to 31,945 units from 45,494 units in December 2017, but Campi and TMA said there were signs of recovery in terms of month-on-month performance.
The two industry groups said combined sales rose 2.2 percent month-on-month in December from 31,258 units delivered in November.
“The auto industry has been recovering since the second half of 2018. We are confident that the continued month-on-month positive sales growth rate during that period will be sustained in 2019,” said Campi president Rommel Gutierrez.
Passenger car sales increased 1.13 percent in December to 9,301 units from 9,197 units in November while commercial vehicle sales went up 2.6 percent to 22,644 units from 22,061 units.
Sales of light commercial vehicles also posted a slight growth of 2.1 percent to 17,963 units from 17,594 units.
The Asian utility vehicle segment posted a double-digit growth of 12.6 percent to 3,539 units from 3,142 units. However, sales of light trucks or category 3 vehicles declined 9.6 percent to 681 units from 753 units.
Category 4 recorded the highest decline of 25.6 percent to 316 units from 425 units while category 5 sales were down 1.4 percent to 145 units from 147 units.
Toyota Motor Philippines Corp. remained the market leader with a 42.8-percent share, followed by Mitsubishi Motor Philippines Corp. with nearly 19 percent.
Nissan Philippines Inc. was third with 9.7-percent share, followed by Ford Motor Company Philippines Inc. and Honda Cars Philippines Inc. with 6.59-percent and 6.52-percent shares, respectively.
The groups said the continuing good performance of the Philippine economy would have a lasting positive effect on the local automotive industry.
“With GDP per capita on a high level, more new vehicle models to be introduced and a strong economy, we welcome the new year with great excitement,” Gutierrez said.
Toyota Motor Philippines said earlier it was expecting sales to increase 10 percent in 2019.