April 27, 2016 at 11:55 pm
Othel V. Campos
A group of vehicle importers said Wednesday sales surged 151 percent in the first quarter from a year ago, making the Philippines a bright spot in Asian automotive sector.
The Association of Vehicle Importers and Distributors said members sold 21,160 units in the January-March period, up from 8,434 units sold a year ago.
Avid president Ma. Fe Agudo-Perez said the group was challenged to maintain if not surpass the recent sales feat, as the Philippine automotive industry continued to expand to meet the rising demand.
“As the Philippines continues to be Asia’s bright spot, Avid registered a triple-digit growth of 151 percent in the first quarter of 2016. This growth will further motivate Avid to give customers value-laden and pioneering products and services, which drive at the hearts of the Filipino people,” she said.
Data showed sales of the passenger car segment jumped 81 percent in the first quarter to 7,609 units from 4,205 units sold in the same period in 2015.
The light commercial vehicle segment jumped 220 percent to 13,452 units from 4,229 units sold in the same period last year.
Avid said the Philippines was expected to maintain “its healthy economic track record on the back of sound macroeconomic fundamentals amid the global economy slowdown.”
The group said the positive outlook was supported by the forecast of debt watcher Standard & Poor’s which raised its 2016 economic growth forecast for the Philippines to 6 percent from 5.7 percent.
Private consumption will continue to drive gross domestic product growth due to the healthy demographics of the fast-growing middle class, the group said.
Avid said despite a slight spike in the inflation rate, demand for automobiles would keep its upward trend in the coming months due to better and more attractive financing packages.
The Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc. and Truck Manufacturers Association said in an earlier report members sold 76,479 units in the January-March period, up by 22 percent from 62,882 units delivered a year earlier.
This means that total sales of the automotive players, consisting of Campi, TMA and Avid members, reached 97,639 units in the first quarter, up by 36.9 percent from 71,316 vehicles sold a year earlier.
Campi said the growth momentum was expected to be sustained in the rest of 2016, as the country’s economic fundamentals remained strong.
“This is another remarkable achievement for the automotive industry. It has been a good start for 2016 and we hope that the momentum can be maintained in the coming months,” said Campi president Rommel Gutierrez.