Q1 auto sales up by 29%

Upbeat market, low interest rates fuel demand

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Vehicle sales rose by nearly 30 percent in the first quarter of 2013 as market optimism and low interest rates fuel demand for new cars and trucks, data released by the industry association 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 by 29 percent to record levels in January to March from the year-ago level.

Members of Campi and TMA sold a combined 41,702 units in the three-month period, the highest first-quarter sales performance recorded by the industry in its history.

“Traditionally, the first quarter has yielded the lowest quarterly sales,” Campi and TMA said in the joint statement.

Campi president Rommel Gutierrez said the rise in sales “was a clear indication that the country is indeed on the path toward motorization.”  Currently, only three in every 100 Filipinos own automobiles.

The leading performers in the first quarter of 2013 were Toyota Motors Philippines Corp., with a market share of  41 percent; Mitsubishi Motors Philippines, 24 percent, and Honda Cars Philippines, 9.51 percent.

Isuzu Philippines Corp. and Ford Philippines followed with market shares of 6.56 percent 6.44 percent, respectively.

Sales of passenger cars, which made up a third of the total units sold, rose by 46 percent to a total of 13,821 units. Commercial vehicles sales increased by 23 percent to 27,881 units from year-ago level.

Within the commercial vehicle category, trucks and buses posted a 69-percent sales increase in the first quarter to 447 units from 265 units. Gutierrez said this was mainly due to purchases by various government agencies that had 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 period of the year for car sellers, indicated that the industry would be able to sell 200,000 units by the end of the year.

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