PH car production fell 44% in 2018

By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

Motor vehicle production in the Philippines posted a steep 44 percent decline in 2018, making it the lone ASEAN country with a negative growth. In terms of sales, again the Philippines lagged behind as consumers battled with the implementation of higher auto excise tax.


The ASEAN Automotive Federation (AAF) reported that motor vehicle production in the region grew by 8 percent in 2018 to 4,368,870 units from 4,047,196 units in 2017.

Of this number, the Philippines contributed only 79,763 units, a sharp 44 percent drop from 141,251 units in 2017.

Atty. Rommel Gutierrez, president of the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc. (CAMPI), correlated the decline in motor vehicle production to the drop in sales following the implementation of higher excise taxes on cars.

Except for the two models – Mirage and Vios – under the six-year CARS Program, the number of car models produced locally has been dwindling with most CBU supply coming from Thailand or Japan. Motor vehicle sales in the Philippines dropped 16 percent to only 357,491 units in 2018 from the 425,673 units the previous year.

Thailand remained as the biggest producer in the region with 2,167,694 units or 9 percent higher than its 2017 sales of 1,988,823 units. Commercial vehicles accounted for the bulk of Thailand’s production at 1,290,679 units while passenger cars contributed 877,015 units.

Indonesia followed with 1,343,714 units or 10 percent more than its 2017 performance of 1,216,615 units. Unlike Thailand, passenger vehicles comprised the majority of Indonesia’s production with 1,055,774 units as against commercial vehicles of 287,940 units only.

Malaysia’s production grew by 13 percent to 564,971 units from 499,639 units in 2017 largely fueled by passenger car production of 522,392 units. Vietnam also posted a very modest 2 percent growth to 200,436 units from 195,937 units in 2017. Myanmar has the least number of cars produced but posted the highest increase of 149 percent to 12,292 units from 4,930 units in 2017.

Production of motorcycles and scooters in three ASEAN countries –Thailand, Philippines and Malaysia reached a total of 3,786,725 units or 3 percent higher from 3,669,749 units in 2017.

Thailand manufactured the biggest with 2,063,076 units from 2,055,193 units in 2017 for a flat growth of 0.4 percent. The Philippines improved its production by 7 percent to 1,258,566 units from 1,173,883 units while Malaysia grew by 6 percent to 465,083 units from 440,673 units. There was motorcycle production report from Indonesia.

In terms of motor vehicle sales, the federation reported total sales of 3,561,830 from 3,339,683 units in 2017.

Again, the Philippines lagged behind with 357,410 units sold only reflecting a 16 percent decline in sales from 425,625 units in 2017. Aside from Philippines, Singapore also dropped its sales by 18 percent with sales of only 95,243 units from 116,148 units in 2017.

The biggest car market in the region in 2018 was Indonesia with 1,151,291 units sold or 7 percent higher than the 1,079,534 units sold in 2017. Although the region’s biggest car producer, Thailand finished second only as a market with a significant 20 percent growth to 1,041,739 units from 871,650 units. This means half of its production are exported.

Malaysia sold 598,714 units of motor vehicles or 4 percent more than the 576,765 units in 2017. Vietnam also considerably raised its sales to 288,683 units or 15 percent higher than the 250,619 units in 2017.

Mayanmar posted the highest increase although at a small volume of 17,524 units from 8,225 units the previous year. Brunei has a smaller market of 11,226 units.

Sales of motorcycles and scooters in the region also improved by 8 percent with Indonesia maintaining its lead as the biggest ASEAN market with sales growing by 8 percent to 6,383,108 units from 5,886,013 units the previous year.
Thailand posted a flat growth of 1,788,323 units from 1,810,771 units previously.

The Philippines as the second highest growth with sales of 1,590,333 units or 21 percent more than the 1,319,085 units in 2017. Singapore posted the highest increase at 25 percent although a smaller volume of 12,053 units form 9,640 units in 2017.

Malaysia grew by 9 percent to 471,842 units from 434,850 units previously.