Auto industry sees 10% growth

Vehicle assemblers and importers expect industry-wide sales to post double-digit growth this year given the improving economic conditions and the expected release soon of a development road map for the automotive industry.

Officials of the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc. (Campi) and the Association of Vehicle Importers and Distributors (Avid) said in a forum that the industry could grow by 10 percent or more in 2013.

Campi president Rommel Gutierrez said studies indicated that per capita income in the Philippines could reach $2,500 this year, which could trigger higher demand for motor vehicles. This, he said, was a conservative estimate.

Avid president Fe Agudo said vehicle sales grew by 11.6 percent to around 185,000 units last year, so a 10-percent industry-wide growth this year was achievable. Sales would be boosted by the introduction of new models, rising consumer confidence and provision of government support.

On industry development, Board of Investments executive director Lucita P. Reyes said the government was aiming to release the automotive industry road map within the next two months.

Reyes said the government might support the local industry by buying locally assembled vehicles, encouraging the replacement of 10-year-old vehicles and including fuel-efficient vehicle manufacturing in the country’s list of priority investment areas.

The local automotive industry had sought lower excise taxes as one form of government support.—Riza T. Olchondra

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