MANILA, Philippines—Motor vehicle sales rose by nearly a third in the first quarter of 2013 as more optimistic consumers and low interest rates fueled demand for new cars and trucks, data released Wednesday showed.
In a joint statement, the Chamber of Auto Manufacturers in the Philippines Inc. (Campi) and the Truck Manufacturers Association (TMA) said car and truck sales rose 29 percent to record levels in January to March.
Members of Campi and TMA, as well as other manufacturers that report their sales to either of the two groups, sold a combined 41,702 units in the three-month period, beaching the 40,000-mark in the first quarter for the first time in history.
“Traditionally, the first quarter has always yielded the lowest quarter sales for any given year,” the joint statement said.
Campi president Rommel Gutierrez said the higher sales “was a clear indication that the country is indeed on the path towards motorization.” Currently, only three out of 100 Filipinos own automobiles.
Leading the performers for the first quarter of 2013 is Toyota Motors Philippines Corp. with 41 percent market share, followed by Mitsubishi Motors Philippines with 24 percent, Honda Cars Philippines 9.51 percent, Isuzu Philippines Corp. 6.56 percent, and Ford Philippines 6.44 percent.
Sales of passenger cars, which made up a third of the total, rose 46 percent to a total of 13,821 units. Commercial vehicles increased 23 percent over the same period last year to 27,881 vehicles.
Within the commercial vehicle category, trucks and buses posted a 69-percent increase with 447 units sold compared to the comparable figure of 265 units. Gutierrez said this was mainly due to purchases by various government agencies that have been refleeting since the start of the year.
Sales of Asian utility vehicles (AUV) and light trucks lagged behind the rest of the industry, growing just 3.5 percent and 2.5 percent, respectively.
The higher sales for the first quarter, normally one of the slowest periods of the year for car sellers, indicates that the industry would be able to sell 200,000 units by the end of the year.