Sales of vehicles from January to May grew 14.3 percent to 50,882 units despite a slight decline last month, according to a joint report by the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc. (Campi) and the Truck Manufacturers Association.
"Overall industry growth can be attributed to steady vehicle prices despite increases in global raw materials, logistics, oil, among others and continued OFW (overseas Filipino worker) remittances which factors in consumer spending," said Campi president Elizabeth Lee.
For the month of May alone, auto sales fell 1.6 percent to 10,900 units from 11,078 in April.
"The slight decline in month on month sales of May versus April remains a relatively positive sign given that the decline relative to the percentage increase in oil prices is not pronounced," Lee noted.
The commercial vehicle (CV) segment continued to dominate the market during the five-month period. It had a share of over 66 percent of total sales or 33,709 units sold, up 17 percent from 28,813 units in 2007.
Sales of passenger cars, meanwhile, rose 9.3 percent to 17,173 units from 15,707 units last year.
Light commercial vehicle (LCV) sales, which accounted for more than half of the CV segment's total sales, jumped 26.4 percent to 19,061 units sold year-on-year. Lee said the growth reflects preference for multi-purpose vehicles that offer consumers more value for their money.
Pickups, vans, compact and full-size sport utility vehicles are classified as LCVs.
Sales of Asian utility vehicles went up 6.8 percent to 13,427 units from 12,567 units the previous year.
Toyota Motor Philippines Corp. led all assemblers with sales of 18,206 units, a 4.4 percent increase from 17,447 units in 2007. Toyota's market share shrank to 35 percent for the period from 39 percent last year.
Mitsubishi Motor Philippines Corp. came second with 6,873 units sold, up 22.4 percent from 5,616 units last year. This is equivalent to a share of 13.5 percent.
Honda Cars Philippines Inc. was third with sales of 6,518 units, a drop of 1.7 percent from the previous year.