Philippines: Local vehicle sales rebound in August amid economic reopening

MANILA, Philippines — Local car manufacturers saw sales rebound in August amid a vaunted economic reopening that lifted demand, helping the industry remain on track to meet its target for this year. 

A total of 30,185 units were sold in August, as sales fattened 90.5% year-on-year according to a joint report by the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc. (CAMPI) and Truck Manufacturers Association (TMA) released Wednesday.

Local car manufacturers saw sales bloom 25.1% year-on-year in the first 8 months to 212,872 units. The industry is targeting to sell 336,000 units in 2022, 17% higher than the 268,488 units sold in 2021.

“The recovery of the industry is indeed on track as we reached monthly sales of above 30,000 units – a pre-pandemic monthly performance level last recorded in 2019,” said CAMPI president Atty. Rommel Gutierrez. 

Vehicle sales are often used as barometers of economic strength. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, for instance, closely follows this to measure consumer appetite for durable goods.

On a monthly basis, car sales rose 8.5% in August, as consumer demand continued to grow as the national government loosened restrictions early in the second quarter.

Household consumption represents 70% of annual economic output, and big purchases like cars materially add to gross domestic product when produced more. 

That said, the Marcos Jr. administration is keen on boosting revenues by streamlining taxation effort that include a proposal to remove a tax exemption on pick-ups. 

Automakers opposed the move since it could hurt sales. As it is, vehicle sales at the onset of the pandemic nearly cratered as a result of strict quarantine restrictions but regained its footing whenever pandemic curbs were eased.

Data dissected showed commercial vehicles accounted for 77.69% of sales in August. Cars sold under this segment grew 9.2% month-on-month to 23,452. 

Sales of passenger cars, which hold 22.31% market share, expanded 6.1% month-on-month at 6,733. 

“This year-on-year improvement of 90.5% in August brings us closer to achieving the industry sales target this year,” Gutierrez added.