Home Top News New vehicle sales up 22% in April

New vehicle sales up 22% in April

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Vehicles are seen along South Luzon Expressway in this file photo. — PHILIPPINE STAR/RUSSELL PALMA

By Adrian H. Halili, Reporter 

NEW VEHICLE SALES jumped by an annual 22% in April, amid steady consumer demand, an industry report showed.

A joint report by the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (CAMPI) and the Truck Manufacturers Association (TMA) showed new automotive sales rose to 37,314 units in April from 30,643 units in the same month last year.

Month on month, vehicle sales dipped by 0.4% from the 37,474 units sold in March.

CAMPI President Rommel R. Gutierrez said the industry posted “strong” year-to-date sales despite the month-on-month drop.

“On the demand side, positive consumer and business confidence plus stability in automotive finance boosted sales,” he said in a statement.

Commercial vehicles accounted for nearly three-fourths of sales in April. Sales went up by 16.9% to 27,272 units in April from 23,326 units a year ago. Month on month, sales fell by 0.4%.

Broken down, light commercial vehicle sales went up by 10.7% year on year to 19,561 units, while sales of Asian utility vehicles rose by 47.5% to 6,816 units.

Sales of light-duty trucks and buses dropped by 29.7% to 491 units, while heavy trucks plunged by 44.9% to 49 units. Medium truck sales rose by 40.9% to 355 units in April.

Meanwhile, passenger car sales surged by 37.6% to 10,069 units in April from 7,317 units sold in the same month in 2023. Month on month, sales slipped by 0.57%.

For the first four months of 2024, new vehicle sales increased by 14.8% to 146,920 units from 127,927 units a year ago.

Passenger car sales jumped by 19.4% to 38,280 units, while commercial vehicle sales grew by 13.4% to 108,667 units.

Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said higher car sales could be attributed to improved spending power of Filipino consumers despite elevated inflation and high interest rates.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has kept its key interest rate at a 17-year high of 6.5% since October 2023.

“Lack of mass transport system also helped sustain the double-digit growth in vehicle sales. As well as more sales of electric and hybrid vehicles, modernization of transport fleet, new models, easier ownership terms such as low downpayments,” Mr. Ricafort said in a Viber message.

Regina Capital Development Corp. Head of Sales Luis A. Limlingan said in a Viber message that consumers are expecting interest rates to be cut soon “so they could be availing of more flexible financing terms.”

CAMPI’s Mr. Gutierrez said the industry expects higher sales of electric vehicles (EVs) this year as the government reduced tariffs on imported hybrid EVs and plug-in hybrid EVs to zero.

The National Economic and Development Authority earlier this month expanded the zero tariff policy for EVs to also include hybrid EVs, plug-in hybrid EVs, e-motorcycles, e-bicycles, nickel metal hydride accumulator batteries, e-tricycles and quadricycles. Last year, EVs made up 2.5% of total industry sales.

Mr. Gutierrez also said new vehicles are already compatible with the higher biofuel blend, which is set to be implemented by October.

The Department of Energy earlier directed oil companies to increase the coco biodiesel blend to 3% starting October.

Meanwhile, Toyota Motor Philippines Corp. remained the market leader, with sales of 67,580 units in the first four months of the year, up 13.9% from 59,328 units a year ago.

Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp. ranked second with a market share of 18.94%, after it posted a 19% increase in sales to 27,828 units.

In third spot was Ford Motor Company Phils. Inc., whose sales went up by 20.1% to 9,688 units.

Rounding out the top five were Nissan Philippines, Inc., which saw a 10.2% increase in sales to 9,375 units, while Suzuki Phils., Inc. posted a 12.5% rise in sales to 6,117 units.

CAMPI set a sales target of 468,300 units for 2024. Last year, the industry sold 429,807 units.

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