VEHICLE SALES UP 11% IN JANUARY-NOVEMBER

MANILA, December 10, 2003  (STAR) By Marianne V. Go - Total vehicle sales rose 11 percent in 11 months this year, powered by the strong demand for commercial vehicles despite a temporary slowdown caused by the restructuring of motor vehicle excise taxes effective last October.

In a joint report, the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc. (CAMPI) and the Truck Manufacturers Association (TMA) said aggregate January-November sales reached 82,815 units this year, from 74,508 units in the same period a year ago.

With a dominating 75 percent of the market, commercial vehicles mainly contributed to the increased output as unit sales surged 14.3 percent to 62,619 in 11 months.

The Asian utility vehicles (AUVs) made up the bulk of commercial vehicle sales with 38,628 units sold during the period, also up by 14 percent from a year earlier.

Other commercial vehicles include sports utility vehicles (SUVs), vans, pick-ups, light trucks and buses.

On the other hand, the passenger car segment which gained renewed interest from buyers since the excise tax implementation shifted to lower gear in November as sales for the month dropped 13.9 percent to 2,550 units from a year ago.

In October, car sales jumped ahead of commercial vehicles as the government started charging excise taxes on the previously-exempt AUVs and other vehicles under the stricter 10-seater rule.

For the 11-month period, car sales posted a growth of only 2.5 percent to 20,196 units.

However, the car makers have been aggressively coming out with new promotional and marketing campaigns to lure sedan buyers back with slashed-down prices of their models, comparing the new prices to the pre-excise tax levels.

Among the assemblers, Toyota Motor led the pack with 37 percent of total market share, its highest since the Asian economic crisis.

The local automotive industry is targeting total sales of about 91,000 units this year which could be attainable, since this represents a conservative five percent growth from the 86,719 units sold in 2002.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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