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Volkswagen PH eyes 50% hike in sales in 2019

Volkswagen Philippines targets at least a 50-percent growth in sales this year, as the Ayala company hopes to ride on the industry’s recovery in 2019.

Volkswagen Philippines president Felipe Estrella III said on Tuesday night that he hoped more Filipinos would experience the brand, which Ayala brought back to the Philippine market in 2013.

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While the local vehicle market suffered a record drop in sales growth last year due to inflation-weary consumers and higher auto excise taxes under the Duterte administration, the company managed to end 2018 with almost the same sales as 2017.

According to official data, Volkswagen sold 1,363 units last year, the same number of units it sold in 2017.

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Moving forward, the company plans to sell a little over 2,000 units.

“We aim to better our 2018 sales performance by at least 50 percent. Riding on the wave of what is expected to be an industry recovery, we are confident that we can achieve this,” Estrella said.

The start of the year, however, is still gloomy for the industry.

Volkswagen alone saw its sales drop 54.5 percent to 50 units from 110 units in January 2018.

On the sidelines of the media event, Estrella told reporters that he hoped the market’s drop this January was only a “little bit of a carryover effect from last year.”

The company is banking on a handful of models made from China to help drive growth, including its Santana Sedan, which costs at least P686,000. Estrella said Santana accounted for around 30 percent of total sales last year.

Sourcing its vehicles from China has helped the company avoid costs, thanks to the country’s free trade deal with Southeast Asian nations, granting lower tariff rates for Chinese imports as opposed to their European counterparts.

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Moving forward, Estrella said they wanted to introduce the brand to a new generation of Filipinos, as he recalled the 1970s when the Volkswagen was a popular car brand.

“That was probably the last time that Volkswagens were really common in the streets of the Philippines. And then it was gone,” he said.

“I think there is a generation of Filipinos who still need to get to know the brand again,” he added.

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