Auto sales up 23% in Q1 but industry cautious

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THE Philippine automotive industry reported a 23-percent increase in vehicle sales in the first quarter, driven by new model introductions, aggressive marketing promotions and attractive financing offers.

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Passenger cars and commercial vehicles led the growth in sales, which reached 94,026 units in the first quarter compared with 76,473 units in the same period last year, according to a combined sales report released by the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc. (Campi) and Truck Manufacturers Association (TMA) on Monday.

“While the first-quarter performance gives us reason to be optimistic, we are still cautious about our own target for the year,” Campi President Rommel Gutierrez said.

The automotive industry is targeting sales of 430,000 to 450,000 units this year given the aggressiveness of industry players, healthy economic conditions, and increasing demand for brand-new vehicles.

Total vehicle sales in 2016 reached 359,572 units.

Meanwhile, Campi said auto sales in March hit 36,561 units, up 35 percent from February’s record of 27,040 units.

Sales of passenger cars grew 7 percent year-on-year in the first quarter to 31,951 units. For the month of March, passenger car sales rose to 11,853 units, up 30 percent from February sales.

According to Campi, the passenger car segment accounted for slightly over a third or 33.98 percent of first-quarter sales.

Sales of commercial vehicles also jumped 33 percent year-on-year with 62,075 units sold for the first quarter compared with 46,677 units sold a year earlier. March sales grew 38 percent to 24,708 units from 17,926 units sold in February, Campi added.

Toyota Motor Philippines Corp. held on to the top spot with a 43-percent market share followed by Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp. with 17 percent, Ford Motor Co. Philippines Inc. with 8 percent, Honda Cars Philippines Inc. with 7 percent, and Isuzu Philippines Corp. with a 6-percent share.

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