Filipinos love cars. That’s a fact. Ever since the ‘George Richard’ car landed on Philippine soil in 1900, Filipinos were instantly enamoured of the four-wheeled vehicle; owing to the convenience it provides, as well as the esteem that comes with owning one. Through the years, Filipinos have developed a deep relationship with the automobile, and as Mick Fleetwood (co-founder of the rock band Fleetwood Mac) said,” People’s lives become entangled with the lives of their cars; they hold memories and symbolize so much!”
The Filipino’s love for cars is very evident with the nonstop increase in brand new car sales. In fact, the Philippine automotive industry had another banner year in 2014 with automobile sales breaching the 250,000 mark, with combined figures from the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc., (CAMPI) and the Association of Vehicle Importers and Distributors (AVID).
Toyota Motors Philippines, the country’s top-selling brand for the past 13 years, once again dominated the scene by grabbing a 45 percent share of the market. Mitsubishi Motors Philippines was a distant second in the rankings with a 21 percent share. Ford, meanwhile, climbed to third overall position by posting an 8.7 percent share. In fourth place is Isuzu Philippines Corporation, which took fourth over-all place (based on figures from CAMPI) garnering a six percent share of the market.
Lording over the competition in the luxury car segment is BMW with 722 units sold. In second place is Lexus with Mercedes Benz a close third.
The passenger car segment exhibited the highest growth rate of 48 percent with sales of 90,287 units compared to the total sales of 61,083 units in 2013. A big part of the passenger car segment that saw tremendous increase was the B-segment or sub-compact category. Auto industry insiders attributed the surge to the country’s improving economy that has expanded the base of first-time car buyers; and according to records, a big number of these first-time car buyers come from the Business Process Outsourcing field.
So what was each brand’s top seller? For Toyota, the Vios was tops with 25,837 units sold. “This feat has sustained the Filipino-made vehicle’s title as the best-selling car in the country for 12 years now,” said TMP president Michinobu Sugata. When asked why the Vios has gained so much popularity, Sugata-san said the Vios has become very popular, especially with the younger crowd, because it “looks cute and is lively.” Sugata said that the Vios’ ride comfort is adequate and that it is extremely fun to drive.
“The build quality of the Vios is particularly impressive. It feels solidly built with good quality materials. I assure our customers that our passion in continuously bringing the best products and services as well as creating more customers smile will remain. These have been the key ingredients in the past and will continue to be our formula for success in the years to come,” Sugata added.
The Mirage was Mitsubishi’s top-selling brand for 2014 with 12,344 units sold. The Mirage is a small but easy and fun to drive—with class-leading maneuverability, performance, safety and seating for five adults. Combined with standard features and the latest technology, Mirage offers an unbeatable mix of style, value and safety.
Froy Dytiangquin, Mitsubishi’s vice president for Marketing Services attributed the phenomenal sales of the Mirage to its cool styling and excellent fuel efficiency. “The Mirage offers exceptional value for money in the small car segment with its distinct features which are normally found on bigger sized cars such as keyless operation system with push start/stop button, multi media audio system w/ navigation, among others. We also believe its cool styling and very fuel-efficient engine very much appeals to our market. The Mirage as a popular iconic hatch of the 80s was instrumental also to its success.”
Auto industry insiders attribute the surge in automobile sales to the improving economy of the country,especially the
The Ranger pickup is Ford’s pièce de résistance with 7,996 units sold. This truck’s impressive stance makes it a favorite among pickup enthusiasts. Complemented by a classy exterior, the Ranger projects the same confidence and build that also make it the ultimate truck for the man on top of his game.
Talking about the Ranger’s success, Dino Obias, Ford’s vice president for Marketing said, “Our all-new Rangers have continuously excelled in providing class-leading features that our customers find important, plus an award-winning performance that delivers unmatched power and capability. We remain committed to developing this product line even more to cater to the specific needs and desires of our Filipino customers.”
In the Asian utility vehicle segment, the Isuzu Crosswind, despite its age, still proved to be a favorite among practical car buyers. Well distinguished for its comfort, efficiency and reliability, the Crosswind was Isuzu’s top performer in 2014 with 4,908 units sold.
We think the reason why the Crosswind is still our best-selling model is because of its practicality. Our customers value its functionality and flexibility; they use it not just for their family but also for business. Add to that is its notable lower maintenance cost compared to other models in its category,” Isuzu’s marketing head, Joseph Bautista said.
In the luxury car segment, the BMW 3 Series is king. The sixth generation compact executive car is better than ever thanks to combination of high-class image and great driving dynamics. “The BMW 3 Series is at the heart of the BMW brand and a key factor in its success, both globally and in the Philippines. It defines the driving pleasure that BMW has long been known for: sporting agility, elegance, pure aesthetics, and pioneering technology that enables dynamic performance and fuel efficiency. With these qualities, it is no surprise that the BMW 3 Series is the best selling premium model in 2014, not only of BMW, but also of the whole premium segment of the country’s auto industry,” said Maricar Parco, president of BMW Phils.
CAMPI has a more optimistic outlook for 2015 with the group releasing a sales target of 272,000 units. The reasons cited include the projected continued improvement of the economy, increased government spending in preparation for next year’s national election and the positive impact of the projected continued decline in world fuel prices. Of this volume, passenger cars and commercial vehicles will take up 40% and 60%, respectively.