AUTO SALES in the country declined at a slower pace in September, as lockdown restrictions were eased once again in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.
Data from the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (CAMPI) and Truck Manufacturers Association (TMA) showed that the industry sold 24,523 units in September, or a 22.9% drop from the 31,820 sold in the same month last year.
This is the slowest pace of decline since the coronavirus pandemic began in March.
Sales plunged as much as 99% in April, at the height of the strict lockdown in Luzon, but has since slightly recovered as restrictions eased.
September usually starts off an upward trend in automotive sales due to the upcoming holiday season.
CAMPI President Rommel R. Gutierrez said the industry is still optimistic that it will continue to recover until the end of the year, pointing to 37% month-on-month growth in September. Sales were sluggish in August, as Metro Manila was placed under a modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) for two weeks.
“Demand for new cars posted double-digit growth on all vehicle categories except trucks and buses (in September). But we are still cautious that consumer spending is below pre-pandemic levels due to the evident shifts to essential goods and services,” Mr. Gutierrez said.
In the first nine months, sales declined by 44.6% to 148,012, which is well below the 240,000-unit target for 2020. Car sales in 2019 reached 369,941 vehicles.
Commercial vehicle sales in September fell 27.7% to 15,967 units compared with the 22,099 in the same month last year.
Broken down, Asian utility vehicle sales slid 20% to 2,627 units, while light commercial vehicle sales dropped 28.9% to 12,425 units.
Passenger car sales slipped 12% to 8,556 units compared with 9,721 a year before.
Year to date, commercial vehicle sales plummeted 44.4% to 103,933 units, while passenger car sales dropped 45.1% to 44,079 vehicles.
For the first nine months of the year, Toyota Motors Philippines (TMP) remained the market leader with a 42.69% market share. Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp. followed with 17.76% market share, while Nissan Philippines, Inc. had a 10.52% share. — Jenina P. Ibanez