By Roy Stephen C. Canivel, Inquirer Business

Car and truck makers sold 14 percent more cars on November compared to the same month last year, as the industry shares the public’s cautious hope that better days from COVID-19 will come again.

A total of 26,456 units were sold, up 14.2 percent year-on-year, according to the latest sales data shared by Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (CAMPI) and Truck Manufacturers Association (TMA) in a joint report.

This was also a 17.2-percent improvement from October, when the groups sold a combined 22,581 units.

For the first 11 months, Campi and TMA, which account for bulk of the domestic auto industry, sold 240,642 units, a 22.7-percent increase from the 196,197 units sold from January to November of last year, when the COVID-19 restrictions were at their strictest.

“Surpassing our last year’s sales performance gives the industry a renewed hope that recovery is underway as restrictions started easing, and economic activities have resumed at improved levels,” Rommel Gutierrez, president of Campi, said on Monday.

“However, the industry remains cautious and on guard at the same time on the uncertainties brought by the COVID-19 mutations, which hopefully will not undermine our recovery,” he added.

Gutierrez, an executive of market leader Toyota Motors Philippines, had said that the entire industry, including auto importers, aimed to sell 295,400 units this year, for a 20.9-percent growth from 2020 sales.

Toyota is still the market leader, cornering nearly half— or 48.27 percent—of total sales since the start of the year. It was followed by Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp., which has a market share of 13.91 percent. Ford Motor Company Philippines, Inc. placed third with 7.54 percent of the market.