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A few weeks prior, the combined published sales reports of both the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines (CAMPI) and the Association of Vehicle Importers of the Philippines (AVID) showed a massive 361% year-on-year growth compared to the same period of 2020. To put things into context, the industry saw total vehicle sales of 4,788 in May of 2020. This time, total vehicle sales show 22,062 units for the May of 2021. My colleague Ms. Aida Sevilla Mendoza is better equipped to break down the numbers. But I am left wondering how and why this happened. Here are some theories I can offer.

The vaccination program has given us hope. As we slowly clear the worst of the storm, both businesses and individuals can slowly start discretionary spending on essentials. Life for everyone needs to resume. Plans put on hold during the pandemic are slowly becoming possible to implement and achieve. With limited public transportation still a very real concern, more and more people are opting to purchase their own private vehicles to get around and get on with their lives.

The economy is slowly opening up. As the workforce slowly starts moving back to regular working hours and their proper work places, movement of people will definitely increase. Coupled with the need to be flexible with transportation and logistics, and the aforementioned limitations with public transport and the desire to minimize one’s risk of COVID infection, a car becomes a highly desirable commodity for professionals.  
The continued support and commitment of the automotive industry to the market. As the automotive industry proves its long-term commitment to the local economy, it sacrifices short term profit to continue sales momentum and market share, providing affordable personal mobility to individuals and families trying to adapt and survive. The imposition by the government of the Safeguard Tax was seen as an added burden that would discourage buyers but the market sentiment now disproves that because car brands are pretty aggressive in offering ways on how to make payments easier.  Aggressive discounting, freebies and promos entice buyers to avail of new vehicles despite the difficult economic times.

The Filipino’s love for cars remains unabated. Despite the difficulties of life brought about by COVID and the economic downturn, cars remains a favorite, a source of passion and self-expression and a means of personal freedom. Cars will always remain in the top three purchases of most Filipinos’ lives after one’s home, education and finally, a car. It remains an important milestone and a necessity for upwardly mobile Filipino professionals.  
 What do you think? 

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