PH car production posts strong rebound in March

Published May 31, 2021, 6:00 AM

by Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

Domestic car production staged a dramatic 88.4 percent turnaround in March this year, the first time since the pandemic, with local manufacturers ramping up factory output.

Data from the ASEAN Automotive Federation (AAF) showed that Philippines car assemblers produced a total of 8,298 units in March this year almost doubling the 4,405 units in March 2020 when the first enhanced community quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic was imposed in the country. 

The March performance, however, failed to bring the country’s first quarter car factory output into the positive territory as production totaled only 19,599 units or 13.1 percent lower than the 22,565 units produced in the same period last year.

ASEAN-wide, the AAF reported of improving performance wherein the March production volume grew a robust 18.9 percent to 353,664 units from 297,559 units in the same period last year.

The March performance tempered the region’s first quarter decline to 1.3 percent only with total production reaching 936,463 units from 949,113 units in the first quarter of 2020.

Among ASEAN countries, Vietnam led the region’s car production recovery with 47.3 percent increase for 47,699 units from 32,380 units the first three months of 2020.

Malaysia also registered a 35.7 improvement with production of 147,086 units from 108,413 units.

Thailand, the car production hub in ASEAN, grew by a modest 2.7 percent to 465,833 units from 453,682 units.

Indonesia, the region’s largest market, registered a negative growth of 22.2 percent with production units of 255,312 units from 328,012 units.

In terms of sales, the region also registered a fast recovery growing  43.3 percent in March, the second monthly positive growth since January this year. Sales in March this year reached 281,494 units from 196,500 units in March last year.

This brought the region’s first quarter growth to an encouraging 7.2 percent with sales in the seven major economies in ASEAN hitting 732,931 units from 683,537 units last year.

Sales growth in ASEAN was led by Vietnam with 35.6 percent g for 70,952 units sold, followed by Malaysia with 32.5 percent increase for 139,499 units, Thailand with 21.8 percent for 243,641 units, Philippines with 8.9 percent for 70,312 units, and Singapore with 1.5 percent growth for 18,393 unit sales.

Meantime, motorcycle and scooters production in region also picked up in March with 6.7 percent growth to 247,156 units from 231,701 in March 2020. This brought total ASEAN motorcycle production to 766,645 units.

Malaysia reported the biggest growth of 28.7 percent producing  163,116 motorcycle units while Thailand grew 8.4 percent to 516,360 units. The Philippines did not submit data for the months February and March. In January, the Philippines reported factory output of 87,169 units.

In terms of sales, the region still slumped at negative 19.1 percent to 728,587 units from 900,679 units. Sales in Malaysia went up by 30.8 percent to 164,425 units and Thailand by 1.1 percent to 435,443 units.

The Philippines, which reported 125,733 units sold in January, did not submit sales reports for the February-March period.