CAR SALES JUMP AS BUYERS RUSH TO AVOID EXCISE TAX

Manila, August 8, 2003 By Rocel C. Felix (STAR) Motor vehicle sales in the first seven months of 2003 rose by 16.8 percent compared to the same period last year as new models entered the market and buyers anticipated the passage of a new excise tax law on vehicles.

A report by the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc. (CAMPI) show that overall sales from January to July reached 53,871 units, up from 46,135 units during the same period in 2002.

Of the total sales, the passenger car segment declined by 7.1 percent in the seven-month period to 11,883 units from 12,797 units last year.

On a monthly basis however, the July sales of sedans zoomed by 41.2 percent to 2,680 units, from 1,898 units in July 2002.

On the other hand, sales of commercial vehicles went up by 26 percent to 41,988 units in the seven-month period, compared to 33,338 units during the same period last year.

For the month of July alone, commercial vehicle sales grew 12.1 percent to 5,824 units from 5,197 units in 2002.

"The market is going up," said CAMPI secretary-general Homer Maranan, who attributed the overall motor vehicle sales growth to the strong sales of Honda Cars Philippines Inc.ís (HCPI) City and Toyota Motor Philippines Corp.ís (TMPC) Vios, both new variants in the compact-sized passenger car segment.

"Even as overall car sales dropped last month, sales of these two new car models by Honda and Toyota picked up," added Maranan.

Maranan said another factor that boosted vehicle sales was the marketís frenzied buying of Asian utility vehicles (AUVs), in anticipation of higher AUV prices as Congress is expected to pass a new excise tax structure, resulting in higher prices of car models.

TMPC remained as the top car manufacturer/assembler with total sales of 15,721 units for the first seven months while HCPI was second with total sales of 9,523 units.

Taking the third slot was Mitsubishi Motors Phils. Inc. with a total of 8,960 units sold; Isuzu Philippines came in fourth with 8,529 units sold; followed by Nissan Motors Philippines with 4,261 units and; Ford Motors Phils., 3,051 units.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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