Car sales last year crashed by almost 40 percent as local vehicle assemblers had to shut down production and suspend distribution due to the health crisis and a volcanic eruption.
In a joint report on Thursday, the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc. (Campi) and the Truck Manufacturers Association disclosed their sales last year declined 39.5 percent to 223,793 units, from 369,941 units in 2019. The plunge can be attributed to the double digit slides in both passenger car (PC) and commercial vehicle (CV) segments.
Broken down, sales of PCs dropped more than 36 percent to 69,638 units, from 109,197 units, while those of CVs plunged nearly 41 percent to 154,155 units, from 260,744 units.
Last December automobile sales reached a total of 27,596 units, which is an improvement from the 23,162 units sold last November, but a decline either way from the 33,715 units sold during the same month in 2019. Campi President Rommel R. Gutierrez said the holidays contributed to the month-on-month increase in vehicle sales.
“It is noteworthy that the holiday season has contributed to the uptick in demand for auto sales in December amid the improving business and consumer confidence,” Gutierrez said.
Likewise, sales of imported cars last year fell by almost 41 percent to 51,719 units, from 87,169 units in 2019, the Association of Vehicle Importers and Distributors Inc. (Avid) reported. Sales of imported PCs slid by over 45 percent to 16,588 units, from 30,484 units, while those of imported light commercial vehicles declined by close to 38 percent to 34,826 units, from 55,778 units.
Worst is the bracket for imported CVs that endured a decline of two thirds to 305 units, from 907 units, Avid disclosed.
Avid President Marie Fe Perez-Agudo argued the automotive industry endured one of the worst damages last year, dating from the Taal Volcano eruption in January, to the spread of the virus beginning February. Both the natural calamity and the health crisis forced vehicle firms to shut down their assembly plants and dealerships nationwide.
“Automotive was among the hard hit sectors in this pandemic and we continue to feel the impact as sales, after-sales and auto-related services remain lackluster,” Agudo said.
Agudo added the industry is expected to suffer another setback this year, as the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) slapped additional tariffs on imported units. Last week the DTI decided to impose a safeguard per unit of P70,000 for PC and P110,000 for LCV to protect local makers from the surge of imports.
“While the worst may be behind us, we still have a long way to go,” she said.
“If we are to restore consumer confidence and revive this sector, we should focus on creating more job opportunities, upgrade infrastructure and logistics, and improve the ease and cost of doing business,” she added. “We are all for the long-term development of the auto industry in the new normal.”