Sales of imported vehicles fall 25%

By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

Motor vehicle importers expect a modest growth this year following the lingering economic challenges in the domestic market dragged sales in the first month of the year to a steep 25 percent decline.

According to the Association of Vehicle Importers and Distributors (AVID), an all-traders group, sales of imported motor vehicles in January to 6,493 units versus 8,696 units in the first month of 2018 on challenging economic environment.

Based on the report, the passenger cars (PC) segment declined by 29 percent in the first month of 2019 with 2,254 units sold. Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc. (HARI) continued to lead the segment as it registered 1,443 units sold.

In addition, sales of light commercial vehicles or the sports utility segment dropped by 23 percent from 5,407 units sold in January 2018 to 4,154 units sold in January 2019. With 1,749 units sold, Ford Group Philippines remained as the market leader in this segment.

In the Commercial Vehicle (CV) segment, AVID sold 85 units in 2019 versus previous year’s 105 units sold. HARI emerged in the forefront of the segment with a total of 64 units sold. JAC Automobile Int’l Philippines, Inc. followed with 21 units sold.

AVID President Ma. Fe Perez-Agudo blamed the steep decline in sales to the continuing slower growth of the domestic economy.

In 2018, Agudo noted that the Philippine economy grew by 6.2 percent, falling short the government’s full year target of 6.5 percent-6.9 percent.

“This is attributed to macroeconomic headwinds such as higher inflation and lower agricultural output,” Agudo said.

Despite this, Agudo said noted that the economy remained stable and is expected to rebound behind the expected boost in election spending and private consumption.

She noted that inflation already eased to 4.4 percent in January which allowed the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to keep the interest rates on hold.With the favorable macroeconomic outlook for 2019, AVID expects the industry to rally and achieve modest growth.