Car makers drive record sales in March

By Louella D. Desiderio, The Philippine Star

Posted at Apr 12 2014 09:45 AM | Updated as of Apr 12 2014 05:45 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Local vehicle assemblers set new record sales in March, allowing them to achieve a 23-percent growth in total sales in the first quarter.

In a statement, the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc. (CAMPI) said its combined sales with the Truck Manufacturers Association Inc. (TMA) reached a record 19,173 units in March, 25 percent higher than the 15,292 units in the same month last year.

The record sales were driven by the strong demand for passenger cars (PC) and commercial vehicles (CV).

PC sales reached 7,174 units in March, up 40 percent from 5,121 units the previous year.

Sales of CVs posted an 18-percent increase to 11,999 units in March from 10,171 units in 2013.

For the first quarter, combined sales of CAMPI and TMA climbed to 51,643 units from 42,034 units in the comparable period a year ago.

PC sales as of end-March reached 18,092 units, rising 30 percent from 13,929 units in the same period last year.

CV sales went up 19.4 percent to 33,551 units in the first quarter compared to 28,105 units in 2013.

Toyota Motor Philippines Corp. remained the top automotive seller in the first quarter, accounting for a 44.2-percent market share.

Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp. placed second with its 23.6-percent market share, followed by Ford Motor Co. Philippines Inc. which had a 7.2-percent share.

“March is generally considered as a strong sales month. The summer season and pre-holy week rush drives customers to the showrooms. Despite this, the market is still more than our expectation, a positive sign of strong automotive industry. We expect to sustain this stable level as we enter the second quarter,” CAMPI president Rommel Gutierrez said.

CAMPI forecasts total vehicles sales in the country to reach 230,000 units this year.

Gutierrez said earlier this month the group is reviewing its forecast for the country’s total vehicle sales this year.

“We may raise the forecast of 230,000 units by the middle of the year because of good January and February results,” he said.

The country’s total vehicle sales reached around 212,000 units last year.