By Roy Stephen C. Canivel

Vehicle sales dropped nearly 85 percent in May compared to the same month last year as auto companies struggled to pitch new cars to consumers due to the pandemic.
Car and truck manufacturers only sold 4,788 units in May, marking an 84.6-percent drop from the 30,998 units sold in the comparative period in 2019. The data is from a joint report by the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (Campi) and Truck Manufacturers Association (TMA), which was released on Monday.

Like other industries, the auto industry is also suffering from the impact of the global health crisis and the consequent lockdown that was meant to contain the spread of the new virus causing COVID-19.
Nevertheless, the latest figures marked an improvement from its sales in April, when only 133 units of the entire Campi and TMA groups were sold. At this point, the industry would take any good news it could get.

“While May figures are still way below the industry’s monthly average sales performance, we welcome any positive signs of recovery amid the pandemic,” Campi president Rommel Gutierrez said.
Sales improved compared to the prior month, as dealerships resumed operations albeit with a reduced capacity and stringent safety protocols.

Campi and TMA, which largely account for the industry in terms of volume sales, sold a total of 69,463 units in the first five months of the year, a 51.1-percent drop from the same period last year.
“At this point, the industry anticipates a dampened consumer demand for new cars in the coming months because, understandably, cars are considered big-ticket investments,” said Gutierrez, who is also a top official of market leader Toyota Motor Philippines Corp.
“But we hope to see some gradual recovery perhaps by fourth quarter of the year,” he added. INQ