Manila, Philippines – THE automotive industry has seen its first semester sales go down by 12.5 percent, a decline it attributed to the ballooning inflation causing consumers to prioritize buying basic goods and services over big-ticket items like cars.
A joint report from the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc. (Campi) and the Truck Manufacturers Association reported they sold 29,350 units in June. It was 21.7 percent lower than the 37,479 units sold in the same month last year.
This put total vehicle sales of the two car groups at 171,352 units for the first half of the year. It was 12.5 percent lower than the 195,772 units sold in the same semester of the previous year.
Campi President Rommel R. Gutierrez said the double-digit contraction is understandable, given consumers are reportedly spending on basic goods and services rather than on big-ticket items. Inflation, which accelerated to 5.2 percent in June, made it less likely for the automobile industry to grow, he added. “This is a typical consumer behavior pattern when economic condition is a bit gloomy due to less favorable economic indicators. However, we remain optimistic that our sales will recover in the coming months, and, hopefully, a sustained growth by the end of the year, ” Gutierrez said.
The passenger car segment had the highest sales decline in June at 42.6 percent, followed by the Asian utility vehicle at 31.7 percent.
Sales of commercial vehicles also fell by nearly 10 percent, while light commercial vehicles and light trucks dipped by 0.6 percent and 5.7 percent, respectively. On the other hand, purchases of trucks and buses expanded by 25 percent and 22.9 percent, accordingly.
Toyota Motor Philippines Corp. remained to be the top dog of the industry with a market share of 42.7 percent, followed by Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp. at 19.5 percent. Nissan Philippines Inc., Ford Motor Co. Philippines Inc. and Honda Cars Philippines Inc. were the third, fourth and fifth largest market players with market shares of 7.72 percent, 7.3 percent and 7.01 percent, respectively.