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By Jordene Lagare, Inquirer Business

Car and truck manufacturers saw their sales expand by almost 20 percent in May as economic activity recovered after economic restrictions were eased with the coronavirus pandemic seemingly on the wane.

In a report on Wednesday, the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (Campi) and Truck Manufacturers Association (TMA) said automakers sold a total of 26,370 units.

This represented an increment of 19.5 percent from the 22,062 units recorded in the same period a year ago.

Sales of commercial vehicles, which grew by 34.2 percent to 19,406 units, accounted for more than half of the total. Light commercial vehicles came second with 15,385 units, up by 33.4 percent.

Campi president Rommel Gutierrez said, “the economic recovery from the ripple effects of the pandemic and the overall robust domestic demand are major contributing factors to the continued improvement of the automotive sales performance recorded in May.”

“Based on our data, the industry has already recorded double-digit percentage growths for three consecutive months on a year-over-year basis, indicating that recovery is underway,” he added.

Toyota Motors Philippines Corp. cornered more than half of the sales with a share of 52 percent. Since the beginning of the year, the company sold a total of 65,668 vehicles.

Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp. came second with a market share of 12.84 percent as it sold 16,209 cars. Nissan Philippines, Inc. followed with a 7.58-percent share, equivalent to 9,571 units.

“The industry is optimistic for a sustained economic growth anchored on domestic demand amid the continued containment of the pandemic  — all-important to the full recovery of the industry,” Gutierrez said.

Year-to-date, vehicle sales of Campi and TMA rose by 14.6 percent to 126,273 units.

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