Auto industry forecasts 11.7% sales growth this yr

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THE Philippine automotive industry expects sales to grow by about 11.7 percent this year, slightly lower than the desired 12 percent growth target, because of “unsatisfactory results” in the fourth quarter last year which could mean buying trends may be changing, an industry official said.

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“In the fourth quarter of 2016, we [Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc. or Campi] should have sold more units [but it]yielded unsatisfactory results. This shows that the buying trend is changing and it may continue to do so this year,” said Joseph Bautista, head of product development and resident outdoorsman of Isuzu Philippines Corp. (IPC), during the launch last Friday of the new 2017 Isuzu D-Max X-Series.

Bautista said this “may have a negative effect on the automotive industry in general. Therefore, we may not reach the desired growth of higher than 12 percent.”

Campi on Friday forecast auto sales of 430,000 to 450,000 units this year, or an 11.7-percent growth from the 403,000 units sold in 2016. Last year, auto sales grew by a faster pace of 24.6 percent from 2015.

Bautista cited several factors for the 2017 forecast, among them economic growth “because of the trust of
investors in the present administration,” the conversion of Euro 2 to Euro 4 models, and possible implementation of the excise tax on new cars in 2018.

He explained that the market might opt to get Euro 2 models before 2018 as the country is not yet completely compliant on Euro 4 fuel.

On the other hand, implementation of the excise tax in 2018 “may push the market to get more cars before the taxes will increase, and 450,000 units is a conservative projection,” he said.

Bautista said that all Isuzu vehicles will be shifting from Euro 2 to Euro 4 by the end of 2017. “All products will be Euro 4. We have schedules for launching this year. This year will be a transition to Euro 4,” he added.

Meanwhile, IPC President Hajime Koso praised the new features of the new 2017 Isuzu D-Max X-Series.

“The model now addresses the lifestyle mobility requirement of active and urban families too. So now, no other pickup truck available in the local market can offer the combination of utility, reliability, versatility and high style that the D-Max X-Series does,” he said.

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