Car sales drop 16% on inflation, tax hikes

Credit to Author: The Manila Times| Date: Mon, 14 Jan 2019 16:21:25 +0000

Automobile sales plunged in 2018 as tax increases and higher-than-expected inflation dashed the “cautious optimism” offered by carmakers at the start of the year.

The 16-percent drop to 357,410 units — a reversal from 2017’s record 18.4-percent surge to 425,673 — was lower than the 14-percent contraction estimated by a senior industry executive late last year as car companies mounted a motorshow aimed in part at drumming up yearend sales.

It was the first contraction since 2011 when sales fell by 4 percent due to parts shortages caused by an earthquake and tsunami in Japan and massive flooding in Thailand.

Double-digit drops were recorded for the main passenger car (PC) and commercial vehicle (CV) categories, the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (Campi) and the
Truck Manufacturers Association (TMA) reported on Monday.

The bread and butter CV segment was the least affected, falling by 13.2 percent to 248,390 units compared to the PC category’s 21.8-percent plunge to 109,020.

December sales plummeted 29.9 percent to 31,945 units from a year earlier, owing mostly to base effects as consumers had rushed to buy cars ahead of the January 2018 effectivity of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (Train) law.

By category, CV sales dropped 27.7 percent to 22,644 units while PC sales fell by an even steeper 34.4 percent to 9,301.

Month on month, however, December sales were up 2.2 percent from the previous month, raising automakers’ hopes for the new year.

“We are confident that the continued month-on-month positive sales growth rate during that period will be sustained in 2019,” Campi President Rommel Gutierrez said.

“With GDP (gross domestic product) per capita on a high level, more new vehicle models to be introduced and a strong economy, we welcome the new year with great excitement,” he added.

Toyota Motor Philippines Corp. retained its dominance of the market, with sales of 14,528 units in December — down 16.1 percent from a year earlier — giving it a 45.48-percent share.

Mitsubishi was again second with sales of 5,499 units, down 20.1 percent and accounting for a 17.21-percent market share, followed by Nissan Philippines, Inc. that saw sales surge by 21.7 percent to 3,289 for 10.3 percent of the market for the month.

Rounding out the top five for December were Ford Motor Co. Phils., Inc. (1,939 units, down 58.1 percent and 6.07 percent of the market) and Honda Cars Phils., Inc. (1,918, down 61.3 percent for a 6.0-percent share).

The rankings were unchanged for the full year, with Toyota grabbing 42.81 percent of the market on sales of 153,004 units, lower by 16.8 percent year on year.

Mitsubishi, with 18.89 percent, sold 67,512 units (8.3 percent lower), while Nissan closed the year in the black with a 39.8-percent sales gain to 34,952 for a 9.78-percent share.

Ford’s full-year sales of 23,571 units (down 35.6 percent) gave it 6.59 percent of the market and Honda closed out the top five with 23,294 cars sold (down 26.7 percent) for a 6.52-percent share.


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