By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
Battered by the impact of the high automotive excise tax, the domestic motor vehicle industry’s sales slumped by 16 percent in 2018, worst performance since the Asian financial crisis, the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (CAMPI) and Truck Manufacturers Association (TMA) reported.
The industry, which enjoyed an average 16 percent growth since 2010 or in the past 8 years, was able to sell 357,410 units only in 2018 versus 425,673 units in 2017 with all categories in the red except trucks and buses (Category IV). Although sales started to recover in the second semester, the much-awaited seasonal December sales rush did not materialize.
Of total sales, the passenger car segment suffered the most with 21 percent decline to 109,020 units versus 139,424 units in 2017. The commercial vehicle segment, which accounted for 62.25 percent of total, registered a 13.2 percent decline to 248,390 units from 286,249 units.
In terms of categories under the commercial vehicle segment, Asian Utility Vehicles (AUV) sales posted the steepest 39.6 percent decline to 48,271 units only as against 79,886 units in 2017. The decline in sales of Light Commercial vehicles (LCV) or the sports utility vehicle was limited to negative 2 percent only to 185,430 units only from 189,248 units the previous year.
Light trucks (pick-ups) posted a significant 22.9 percent decrease to 7,619 units versus 9,888 units in 2017.
Category IV of trucks and buses was the lone positive with a modest 4.8 percent growth to 5,076 units from 4,845 units last year.
The big trucks and buses (Category 5) also suffered a huge 16.3 percent negative growth to 1,994 units from 2,382 units the previous year.
The joint CAMPI-TMA report also showed that the much-awaited jump in December sales failed to lift the steep declines in the first half of the year.
The December month sales disappoint with only 31,945 units sold or 2.2 percent higher only from the previous month’s sales of 31,258 units. It was also 29.8 percent lower than the 45,494 units in December 2017.
Month on month sales of passenger cars increased only by a mere 1.13 percent to 9,301 units versus November last year. It was no match to the 34.4 percent decline in December 2017.
The commercial vehicles also grew by a mere 2.6 percent only with sales of 22,644 units from 22,061 units the previous month. Compared to December 2017, it was 27.7 percent lower.
All other categories went down with the big trucks posting the sharpest decline with 51.3 percent followed by Asian Utility Vehicles with 45.3 percent, and LCVs and Category 4 trucks and buses each at 23 percent decline. Light trucks or pick-up trucks managed to limit its decline to 1.7 percent only.
In terms of ranking, the usual top brands were in the negative sales territory, but Nissan Philippines, Inc. managed to sneak into the third place with a dramatic growth of 39.8 percent. Nissan sales for 2018 reached 34,952 units from 24,994 units in 2017.
Toyota Motor Philippines, the country’s largest car company, suffered a negative 16.8 percent decline in sales to 153,004 units from 183,908 units in 2017, while second largest Mitsubishi Motors Philippines decreased by 8.3 percent to 67,512 units from 73,590 units in 2017.
In fourth place was Ford Motor Company Philippines, Inc. with 23,571 units or a huge 35.6 percent decline over 2017’s total sales of 36,623 units. Honda Cars Philippines, which finished fifth, also dropped its sales by 26.7 percent to 23,294 units from 31,758 units in 2017.