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Philippines records new high in car sales

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AUTO sales in the Philippines hit a record high but fell short of the industry’s target for 2014.

In a statement, the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc (Campi) said combined sales with the Truck Manufacturers Association Inc reached 234,747 units last year, nearly a third higher than the 181,283 sold in 2013.

Despite the new record, last year’s sales fell short of Campi’s target of 250,000.

Passenger cars led growth, increasing 48 percent to 90,287 units from 61,083 in 2013.

“This growth in the passenger car sales was largely fuelled by the successful introduction of several new models and wider acceptance of small car product category,” Rommel Gutierrez, president of Campi, said.

Commercial vehicle sales also increased but at a slower pace of 20 percent to hit 144,460 units last year from 120,200 in 2013.

Toyota Motor Philippines Corp remained the industry leader with a 45 percent share of the market, followed by Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp with 21 percent.

Ford Philippines snagged third spot with a nearly 9 percent share, trailed by Isuzu Philippines Corp and Honda Cars Philippines Inc with 6 percent and 5.7 percent, respectively.

Campi is aiming for sales of 272,000 this year, citing the drop in fuel prices, preparations for the 2016 national elections and expectations of higher government spending.

The share of passenger cars to total sales is expected to rise to 40 percent this year from 38 percent last year, as Campi sees the small car category drawing more buyers, especially among the young professionals.

The share of commercial vehicles would slide to 60 percent from nearly 62 percent over the same period, but Campi still expects healthy demand given the drop in fuel prices.

“Many consumers now see the need as well as practicality of owning SUVs and similar higher vehicles to combat the floods,” Gutierrez said, referring to sports utility vehicles.

“Dropping oil prices, wider product selection at competitive prices and improved fuel efficiency of higher displacement vehicles are providing the additional push especially to those who are considering a second vehicle purchase,” he added. – InterAksyon

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