By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
Sales of imported vehicles finally recovered although at a very modest 0.2 percent growth in the first four months of the year following a strong 12.1 percent growth in April over the same month last year, data from the Association of Vehicle Importers and Distributors, Inc. (AVID) showed.
According to AVID, sales in April reached 7,259 units from 6,476 units in April last year. This brought to total January-April sales to 29,458 units or a very modest 0.2 percent growth compared to 29,411 units sold in the same first four months 2018.
Dragging the overall January-April performance was the 8 percent decline in passenger car sales to 10,528 units from 11,451 units in the same period in 2018. But the weak passenger car sales did not stop the total sales to grow following a modest 5 percent improvement in light commercial vehicle sales and 2 percent growth in total commercial vehicle sales.
“We are pleased to finally see growth in the first four months, coming from a lackluster first quarter,” said AVID President Ma. Fe Perez-Agudo. “The strong April performance signifies that demand for automotive vehicles is slowly increasing, eventually leading to what we forecast as a strong industry recovery.”
Hyundai remains the main volume driver of the passenger segment, accounting for 66 percent of AVID’s total PC sales, followed by Suzuki’s 24 percent.
The LCV or the sports utility vehicle segment accounts for roughly two-thirds of AVID’s total vehicle sales, led by Ford (40%), Hyundai (29%), and Suzuki (22%).
April 2019 Commercial Vehicle (CV) sales grew by 6% year-on-year to 111 units. January to April 2019 increased at a slower pace at 2% or 447 units sold versus the same period last year. Hyundai accounts for 74% of AVID’s year-to-date CV sales.
“Overall, we are optimistic that as macroeconomic fundamentals improve, industry sales will only get better. We are bound to encounter headwinds this year, including shifts in buying patterns and higher interest rates, but we are confident that the industry is geared to tackle such challenges,” Agudo added.