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A survey of the top 3 best-selling models/ nameplates of 18 mass market brands in 2020 shows that despite the pandemic-weakened economy drubbing motor vehicle sales last year, consumer preference for crossovers persists.
The marketing or sales managers of the 18 brands surveyed willingly revealed their top 3 best-selling models after they were reassured that no sales figures were required.  Sales data, after all, are confidential corporate information.
In the survey, three midsize SUVs built on pickup platforms – the Mitsubishi Montero Sport, Nissan Terra and Chevrolet Trailblazer – made their brands’ best-seller list while 16 car-based crossovers of all sizes outnumbered all the other categories.
The best-selling crossovers of their respective brands in 2020 were (alphabetically listed according to brand) the Chery Tiggo 2, Chery Tiggo 5X, Chery Tiggo 8, Ford Territory, Geely Coolray, Geely Okavango, Geely Azkarra, Honda BR-V, Kia Stonic, Mazda CX-5 (shown in main photo), Mazda CX-8, MG ZS, MG RX5, Subaru Forester, Subaru XV, and Suzuki S-Cross.
On the other hand, it must be pointed out that Chery and Geely, both of which are Chinese brands, were selling only crossovers in the Philippines in 2020.
Five crossovers listed above seat seven or eight: the Mazda CX-8, Chery Tiggo 8, and Geely Okavango.  The rest are 5-seaters, except perhaps for the Suzuki S-Presso which is the smallest and also the lowest-priced.
The S-Presso, which is made in India, and the China-sourced crossovers – the Cherys, Geelys, MGs, Kia Stonic and Ford Territory – attract buyers because of their affordable SRPs.  This is because as an ASEAN member, the Philippines enjoys preferential trade agreements with China and India.
Premature predicted 
demise of the PC
Because of the worldwide popularity of crossovers and SUVs, some auto industry observers have long been foretelling the demise of the passenger car (PC).
That prediction was bolstered when Ford Motor Co. stopped producing PCs except for the iconic Mustang sports car.
But the PC is still thriving in the market, as shown by 13 PC nameplates landing on their brands’ best-seller list (alphabetically listed according to brand):  Honda City, Hyundai Accent, Hyundai Reina, Kia Soluto, Mazda3, MG 5, Mitsubishi Mirage G4, Subaru WRX, Toyota Vios, Toyota Wigo, Volkswagen Santana, VW Santana GTS and VW Lavida.
If we were to include mini subcompact hatchbacks like the Honda Brio and Chevrolet Spark, the PC count would reach 15.
As noted in the case of crossovers, many of these PCs sell well because they are affordably priced since they come from China. The Hyundai Reina, Kia Soluto, MG 5, VW Santana, VW Santana GTS and VW Lavida are manufactured in China under the auspices of their parent companies.

Pick-ups for country  roads and loads
Like truck chassis-based SUVs, pickups cost a lot more than PCs and logically would have suffered a dip in sales in the pandemic year 2020 despite the exemption of pickups from the increased excise tax imposed by the TRAIN (Tax Reform for Inclusion and Acceleration) Act starting January 2018.
Nonetheless, seven pickups made it to their brands’ best-selling list of 2020 (alphabetically listed according to brand): Chevrolet Colorado, Ford Ranger, Ford Ranger Raptor, Isuzu D-Max, Maxus T60, Nissan Navara and Toyota Hilux.
In fact, five brands – Chevrolet, Ford, Isuzu, Maxus and Nissan – named a pickup as their No. 1 best-seller. Maybe it’s because these days, pickups are used as a workhorse as well as a lifestyle statement.
The most affordable pickup may be the made-in-China Maxus T60, whose starting price is P998,000 while the most expensive could be the Ford Ranger Raptor at a starting SRP of P2.0 million effective 2021.

MPVs and  minivans at discounted SRPs
For the family man,  transporting the wife and kids wherever when lockdown restrictions ease up holiday travel on the road means getting a multipurpose vehicle (MPV) or minivan instead of a PC or pickup.  The substantial discounts and sales promos offered by auto dealers in 2020 made buying a new minivan or MPV a wise investment.
In this context, seven people carriers of various sizes and seating capacity made it to their brands’ best-seller list (alphabetically listed according to brand): Foton Transvan, Maxus G10, Maxus G50, Mitsubishi Xpander, Nissan Urvan Premium and Suzuki Ertiga.
The Suzuki Ertiga,Mitsubishi Xpander, Maxus G50 and Maxus G10 seat seven or eight while the Nissan Urvan Premium and Foton Transvan each seat 15.

Lightweight trucks sold well, too 
When the coronavirus-induced series of lockdowns reduced or limited public transportation availability and light cargo delivery service, the market demand for lightweight trucks correspondingly increased.
No wonder that the (alphabetically listed per brand) Foton Gratour Midi Truck, Hyundai H-100, Isuzu Traviz, Kia K2500 and Suzuki Carry gained entry to their brands’ best-seller list.
Several models like the Hyundai H-100 and Kia K2500 were offered as new, modern passenger jeepneys as well as  merchandise/ light cargo delivery vehicles.
With the World Health Organization forecasting that 2021 will be a tougher year than 2020 despite the global distribution of coronavirus-fighting vaccines, it appears that the demand for lightweight trucks will continue.
Meanwhile, the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (CAMPI) and the Association of Vehicle Importers and Distributors, Inc. (AVID) have released their year-to-date December 2020 sales reports indicating that despite the drastic plunge in overall sales last year, the adjusted industry total vehicle sales target of 240,000 units was achieved.
But that’s another story.

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