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Feb. vehicle sales post slight growth

Vehicle sales were reported flat in February, marking the first time in a long while under the higher excise tax regime that sales did not register a decline.

Vehicle assemblers said their sales hit 26,327 units in February, 0.6 percent higher than the 26,176 units sold in the same month last year.

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For the first two months, however, sales dropped 8 percent to 53,215 units from 57,821 units in the comparative period in 2018.

This was according to a joint report of the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (Campi) and Truck Manufacturers Association (TMA).

The February vehicle sales performance marked the first time since the early part of last year that local vehicle assemblers posted slight growth year-on-year.

This came two months after the industry hit its worst full-year sales decline since the financial crisis in 1998.

Higher excise taxes under the Duterte administration, coupled with high inflation rates, dampened local demand for new vehicles.

Moreover, industry officials said some Filipinos might have already bought new units in 2017, ahead of the imposition of the new excise taxes.

After sales fell 16 percent last year, Campi and TMA—composed of most vehicle companies in the country—target a 10-percent growth for 2019.

The groups sold 8,471 units of passenger cars in February, 3.4 percent higher than the 8,192  units a year ago.

From January to February, this segment sold 16,958 units, down 5.7 percent from the 17,982  units sold in the same period last year.

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Commercial vehicles slid 0.7 percent to 17,856 units in February. For the first two months, this segment posted a 9-percent decline in sales to 36,257 units.

In the first two months, Toyota Motors Philippines Corp. remained the market leader, followed by Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp.  and Nissan Philippines Inc.

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TAGS: excise tax, vehicle sales
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