By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
Sales of Hyundai motor vehicles in the first month of the year still remained negative as sales dipped 5 percent to 2,758 units from 2,903 units in January 2018. The January sales also showed a higher decline of 6.7 percent compared to December 2018 sales of 2,957 units.
Despite a not so encouraging year starter, Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc. (HARI), the official distributor of Hyundai vehicles in the country, said they are optimistic that sales would rebound in the next months.
“The outlook for the Philippine automotive industry remains optimistic as macroeconomic headwinds begin to ease. Hyundai stands resolute as it brings in new and market-leading products to take advantage of the opportunities laid out in 2019,” said HARI President and CEO Ma. Fe Perez-Agudo.
Of total sales in January, the Passenger Car (PC) segment substantially pulled down overall performance with 29.1 percent decline to only 1,443 units from 2,036 units in January 2018.
Agudo said that sales in this segment is expected to grow with the launch of its new passenger car model Reina.
Agudo, however, reported that sales of Light Commercial Vehicle (LCV) segment experienced a significant growth by 51.7 percent from 867 units in January 2018 to 1,315 units in the same period of this year. The addition of the Kona and the heightened demand for the H-100 has bolstered the segment’s performance.
But the huge jump in the LCV category was not enough to bring total sales into the positive category.
Agudo explained that the lingering downturn in car sales was largely due to the macroeconomic developments like the imposition of higher automotive taxes and high inflation levels last year that discourage consumers from purchasing big ticket items such as cars.
“However, this is expected to subside as the economy will improve on the backs of sustained government spending and increasing investments on the government’s infrastructure program,” Agudo said.
She cited the positive sentiments from the market as inflation begins to ease, dropping to 4.4 percent in January 2019, the effects of TRAIN slowly dissipating, and the central bank’s expected loosening up of its monetary stance. All of which will play for a better environment for the automotive-buying consumer.
“Overall, Hyundai remains positive that the positive economic outlook paired with the timing of New Model releases will be enough to boost the demand for Hyundai vehicles in the country,” Agudo concluded.