PH auto sales dropped in Jan on Omicron surge
Car and truck manufacturers started the year with an 11-percent decline in their sales volumes as the industry faced the reality of a prolonged recovery for the Philippine economy from the pandemic.
Automakers sold 20,765 units in January, an 11.2 percent decline from the same month in 2021, according to the latest joint report by the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc. (Campi) and the Truck Manufacturers Association (TMA).
Campi president Rommel Gutierrez said the industry was actually expecting “bleak growth” at the start of the year, since January sales are historically slow compared to the higher performance experienced every holiday season.
But month-on-month sales for January dropped 25 percent from sales in December 2021, back when the groups sold 27,846 units, which marked their highest monthly sales since the start of the pandemic in 2020.
“Unfortunately, we cannot dismiss the impact of tighter restrictions reimposed in January as new cases of COVID-19 rose, particularly in [the National Capital Region] and nearby provinces, resulting in a lukewarm reception for big-ticket item spending,” said Gutierrez, who is also a ranking official with market leader Toyota Motors Philippines.
“The pandemic is something that the industry will have to continue dealing with during these uncertain times just like other industries even with the rollout of the vaccines. Hopefully, COVID-19 will be contained in the foreseeable future so we can all get back on track to recovery, he added.
In January alone, Toyota cornered 47.57 percent of the volume sales. It was followed by Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp., which had a market share of 14.23 percent, and then by Nissan Philippines Inc. with 8.58 percent.
Overall, Campi and TMA members sold a total of 268,488 units last year, a 20 percent increase from 2020. While this is a recovery from the 39.5 percent drop in sales in the first year of the pandemic, the performance last year was still not enough to match the 2019 sales that saw sales of 369,941 units.
Commenting on Campi and TMA’s year-end results, Nicholas Mapa, senior economist at the ING Bank NV, previously said that the data suggest people are not buying new cars like they used to.
“The 22,000 sales average in 2021 suggest that demand for durables remains soft and that much anticipated revenge spending can only carry the economic recovery so far. Prior to the pandemic, average car sales was topping 30,000,” Mapa said in a previous research note.
“With the Omicron variant looking to disrupt business activity to start the year, we can only surmise that consumers will have a little less in their budgets set aside for a new car in the near term,” Mapa added.
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