Car sales continued to rise in January, expanding by 15.5 percent to 34,060 units from 29,499 units in the same period last year, according to a joint report by the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc. (CAMPI) and the Truck Manufacturers Association (TMA).

The growth was driven by commercial vehicle sales, which increased by 16.5 percent to 25,614 units from 21,993 units in the same period last year. This segment accounted for 75.20 percent of total vehicle sales.

Similarly, passenger car sales registered a 12.5 percent increase to 8,446 units from 7,506 units. This category accounted for nearly 25 percent of total vehicle sales.

For this year, CAMPI's conservative forecast is 468,300 units, a nine percent increase from last year's sales of 429,807 units.

CAMPI president Rommel Gutierrez said there are more reasons for optimism this year despite inflation risks and the imminent taxation of double cap pickups.

'We are starting 2024 with a positive business and consumer confidence outlook. We see new model introductions and the expansion of electrified vehicle line-up especially in the hybrid electric vehicle segment, and more brands coming into the market,' Gutierrez said, adding that these are all indications of a strong and vibrant auto market.

CAMPI said it is slated to hold its 9th Philippine International Motor Show in the second half of the year.

'This means that the 2024 performance could well exceed CAMPI's initial forecast and reach 500,000 units as motor shows generally boost sales,' the group said.

Toyota Motor Philippines Corp. (TMP) remained the market leader in January with a 47-percent market share, selling 16,093 units.

This was followed by Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp. with a 18 percent share, selling 6,085 vehicles.

Ford Motor Co. Philippines Inc. and Nissan Philippines Inc. almost tied with 7.2 percent each, selling 2,466 units and 6,085 units, respectively.

Suzuki Philippines Inc. was the fifth biggest seller with a 4.4 percent market share as it sold 1,485 units.

In an interview with reporters last month, Gutierrez said it's possible for vehicle sales to hit 500,000 units this year.

This would mark an increase of 16.3 percent from the 429,807 units sold in 2023.

'Possible, because we grew by 21 percent last year,' Gutierrez said.

The growth in vehicle sales this year is expected to be driven by production, new models and improved macroeconomic performance, with reference to the country's gross domestic product and moderated inflation rate.

He also mentioned remittances from overseas Filipino workers as another sales driver for the sector.

Last year, the industry breached the 423,000-unit sales forecast for 2023

In a separate statement , the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) stressed the importance of public private partnerships in the development of the country's automotive industry, citing its collaboration with TMP.

'Over the years, the collaboration between the DTI and TMP has been instrumental in advancing the automotive industry in the Philippines. TMP has made significant contributions to the Philippine economy through substantial investments and the creation of high-quality jobs,' Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual said.

The DTI said its collaboration with TMP has sustained completely knocked down (CKD) operations and bolstered local manufacturing capabilities.

In addition, the implementation of the Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy program has increased the country's vehicle manufacturing capabilities.

'With the integration of transmission manufacturing, Toyota's Regional Parts Complementation Scheme has also optimized production and firmly positioned the Philippines in the global supply chain,' the DTI said.

Copyright © 2022 PhilSTAR Daily, Inc Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (