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Demand surge for vehicles nearly doubled August sales

Demand surge for vehicles nearly doubled August sales

90.5% growth tallied in eighth straight month of expansion

By Alden M. Monzon, Inquirer Business

Sales of motor vehicles in the Philippines improved for eighth consecutive month, registering growth of 90.5 percent in August—the highest so far for 2022—according to two of the biggest automobile industry associations in the country.

A joint report by the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (Campi) and Truck Manufacturers Association (TMA) released on Wednesday showed that total unit sales reached 30,185 last month, an almost twofold increase compared to the 15,847 units sold in the same month last year.

“The recovery of the industry is indeed on track as we reached monthly sales of above 30,000 units, a prepandemic monthly performance level last recorded in 2019,” Campi president Rommel Gutierrez said in a statement, adding that it brings them closer to achieving the industry sales target of 336,000 units for 2022.

This puts the year-to-date figure at 212,872 units, which is 25.1 percent higher compared to the same period last year.

Period of decline

Gutierrez expressed optimism with the return of the 8th Philippine International Motor Show, which starts today, saying it gives him plenty of reasons to be hopeful for a stronger year after a period of decline.

Motor vehicle sales in the Philippines plunged by 40 percent in 2020 with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic which forced the government to implement lockdowns, widespread quarantines and other harsh health curbs to slow its spread.

Local automobile firms went from selling 369,941 units in 2019 to only 223,793 units in 2020.

For more than a decade before the pandemic, vehicle sales in the Philippines have been growing steadily at a rate of 20 to 30 percent per year.

Recovery

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It saw a 16 percent slump in 2018, but grew on the average of 24 percent annually in the last three years before that year of decline.

Motor vehicle sales registered a slight comeback in 2019 when unit sales grew 3.5 percent to 369,941, before plunging by almost half in the first year of the pandemic.

Back in August, Gutierrez expressed the same optimism with the sustained growth they had seen in July, attributing the gains to the improving consumer outlook for big-ticket items.

“The improvement in the availability of jobs and employment, business recovery and containment of the pandemic are important drivers for the overall economic recovery in this post pandemic normalcy [which are] similarly true for the industry’s recovery as well,” the Campi chief said back then.

Gutierrez said the automobile industry had already hit 56 percent of their sales target for 2022 as of June, adding that they expect the trend to continue as the end of the year approaches.