MANILA, Philippines?The Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc. (Campi) is expected to slash its growth forecast on vehicle sales for this year to only 1-2 percent from the initial 4-5 percent due to the adverse impact of the Japan crisis on the industry.
Industry officials said the lower growth could even be an optimistic forecast considering that several large vehicle manufacturers have been affected by the double whammy of a catastrophe: an 8.9-magnitude earthquake and its consequent devastating tsunami in Japan last March.
A more logical forecast would be a flat growth for this year considering that the auto industry was among the sectors badly affected by the crisis, given the length of its supply chain and the need to deliver various parts and components to different parts of Japan and the world, an official told the Inquirer.
The local units of Japanese carmakers Toyota Motor Corp., Mitsubishi Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. Ltd. earlier reduced production by as much as 50 percent and shortened work weeks. Even Ford Group Philippines cut production as these efforts were meant to stretch existing key parts inventories while waiting for fresh deliveries from their Japanese suppliers.
Campi president Elizabeth Lee already admitted earlier that the initial projected growth figure of 4-5 percent might not materialize.
?Currently, we are still within the forecast range. However, this may be revised accordingly as we move forward in the coming months, with greater visibility on the extent of the damage and its lingering effect on local operations,? Lee was earlier quoted as saying.
In a related development, Honda Philippines separately said it has also revised growth expectations this year due to the Japan crisis. From an initial sales forecast of 17,600 units by end-2011 from 16,600 units in 2010, the company now expects flat growth for the year, according to Voltaire T. Gonzales, Honda Philippines vehicle sales and corporate communication chief.
On the sidelines of the Honda Accord 2011 launch Tuesday night, Gonzales also said that they expected production to remain at 50 percent until June. The company would be able to announce firmer targets by July, following the reset of its sales plan, he added.
Meanwhile, the company is optimistic it can sell 100 units of its newly launched Honda Accord 2011 within a three-month period. These units, priced between P1.7 million and P2.05 million, are being imported from Thailand.
The 2011 Accord comes with new front grille and bumper designs as well as chrome garnishing on the trunk. Both the 2.4-liter and 3.5-liter variants come with front corner sensors in addition to rear sensors.