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Vehicle sales continue to decline

Vehicle sales fell 9.7 percent in September, the slowest year-on-year decline in recent months amid hopes that the Christmas season could help improve sales.

Sales dropped to 31,116 units that month, lower than the 34,445 units sold in September last year. This marked the slowest year-on-year decline since February, back when sales eased by 3.2 percent.

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This was according to the joint data of the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc. (Campi) and Truck Manufacturers Association (TMA) released on Thursday after work hours.

In the first nine months of the year, vehicle sales were down 13.8 percent to 261,057 units from 302,869 units during the comparative period in 2017.

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While the figures suggest that the industry might soon have a better grip of the wheel, the negative figures still point to a struggle that most companies endured since the start of the 2018.

This was due to the first tax package passed under the Duterte administration, commonly called the TRAIN law. It slapped higher excise tax rates on most cars, weakening the appetite of consumers especially at a time when inflation has eaten up on the Filipino’s purchasing power.

Nine months under the weight of the law, it remains to be seen when the industry will be able to reverse the trend of falling sales, which began in February.

The decline, however, has been slower year-on-year since August.

“We remain optimistic that this trend will be sustained before the year ends, as we expect boost in sales from the upcoming 7th Philippine International Motor Show this month and the Christmas season,” said Campi president Rommel Gutierrez said.

Passenger car sales fell to 9,441 units in September, 10.2-percent lower than the 10,516 units sold in the same month last year. This brought unit sales in the first nine months of the year to 20.2-percent drop, selling 81,078 units from 101,655 units previously.

The commercial vehicle segment, on the other hand, sold 21,675 units in September, a 9.4-percent decline from 23,929 units.

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The segment, which accounted for more than 66 percent of the market since the start of the year, saw a 10.6-percent decline from January to September, reaching 179,979 units from 201,214 units, previously.

As of end-September this year, Toyota Motor Philippines Corp. remained the market leader with nearly 42-percent market share, despite a 17.6 percent drop in sales.

It was followed by Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp. with 19.3-percent market share and a 5.4 percent drop in sales.

Nissan Philippines Inc. came in at third with a market share of 9.4 percent. Its sales increased 41.1 percent to 24,507 units, bucking the trend of the industry.

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TAGS: cars, Mitsubishi motors Philippines corp., vehicle sales
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