Talk about traffic in this country and you’ll often get a reply filled with disgust and exasperation, followed by a tirade of how there are too many vehicles on the roads.
But for Carmudi Philippines Managing Director Abheshik Mohan, road congestion isn’t really the fault of excess sales, but of the lack of infrastructure.
“The Philippines is actually still in the early motorization stage with around 38 vehicles for every 1,000 people,” he said. “In fact, countries with 10 times the motorization rate of the Philippines manage to have much less pollution and road congestion. For instance, Malaysia is at 400 for every 1,000 people and Japan is at 600 for every 1,000 people.”
Indeed, Mohan said the implementation of the Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy or CARS Program will drive up the country’s motorization rate tremendously over the next decade. He said the solutions to dealing with all these vehicles is to invest in both better public transportation and the development of areas outside of Metro Manila.
“It’s standard development economics where people from all over the country will flock to metropolitan cities because the jobs are there,” he said. “But as you develop cities outside the metropolitan cities, people will move back there because they’d rather be closer to their homes and loved ones. This would lead to lower road congestion concentrated in certain regions of the country.”
And despite the surge in new-car purchases, Mohan said he doesn’t see anything untoward happening to the second-hand car market as many first-time car buyers, especially younger ones, would rather buy a quality second-hand car.
“This is why we are working on the certification process for cars in our site,” he said. “We want to make it easier for people to trust the second-hand car market. So as the new-car market grows, so will the second-hand car market.”