JANUARY 9, 2010 (STAR) By Ma. Elisa P. Osorio - Sales of the local automotive industry expanded by 6.4 percent to 132,444 units in 2009 due to higher replacement rate of typhoon damaged vehicles coupled with stronger-than-expected growth in overseas Filipino workers’ remittances.

The Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc. (CAMPI) said the industry exceeded expectations as it surpassed the four-percent target set at the beginning of 2009.

Sales for December surpassed expectations as the industry registered the highest singular monthly sales volume of over 13,596 in a decade, closing the year with a total of 132,444 vehicles sold versus last year’s 124,449.

The highest monthly sales was a seven-percent jump from the already strong November sales. 

“Although December sales were expected to be seasonally higher, the stronger spike in last month’s sales was a welcome result. This augurs well for 2010,” said Elizabeth Lee, CAMPI president.

“Stronger growth was due to higher replacement rate coupled with stronger than expected growth in OFW remittances and aggressive financing packages which fueled consumption resulting in higher vehicle sales,” Lee said. 

The second half of the year more than made up for the slow sales seen in the first half of the year, CAMPI said.

The market share of Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) went down by two percent from 36.9 percent to 34.9 percent. On the other hand, the market share of both Mitsubishi and Honda Motors Philippines went up.

Toyota sold the most cars with 46,193 units followed by Mitsubishi with 23,247 units and Honda with 17,168 units.

Meanwhile, sales of passenger car grew by 4.1 percent, to 46,228 units while commercial vehicle sales grew by 7.7 percent 86,216. Commercial vehicle sales made up 65 percent of total vehicles sold nationwide.

The increase in overall sales for the commercial vehicle segment reflect the Filipino buyer’s preference for dual purpose vehicles. The Light Commercial Vehicle (LCV) segment in particular, resulted in a double-digit growth of 15.8 percent selling over 52,700 units nationwide.

LCVs comprise of the popular AUVs, pick up trucks, vans and compact wagons. The stronger growth in this segment is seen for 2010 as an important segment that will carry the CV category.

The 2009 year to date sales for the PC segment still proved to be consistently stable as it sustained its growth contributed by the arrival of stocks,with preference for smaller engine cars within the PC segment cornering most of the sales.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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