Philippine car importers sustain sales growth but recovery an ‘uphill struggle’

Japan's exports and imports in May both posted the largest year-on-year drops since 2009 due to the coronavirus pandemic. AP. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

MANILA, Jul 19, 2021, PhilStar. Car importers posted another month of sales growth in June, but the road to recovery remains an “uphill struggle” for the industry, The Philippine Star reported.

Importers sold 4,936 vehicles in June, up 33% year-on-year, the Association of Vehicle Importers and Distributors Inc. (AVID), an industry group, reported Monday. But on a month-on-month basis, sales inched up by measly 1%.

The latest figure brought the six-month sales to 30,153, growing 55% on an annual basis mainly due to distortions from low base effects from last year’s pandemic-induced slump.

Vehicle sales are often used as an indicator of the economy’s health since consumer spending historically accounts for over 70% of the Philippines’ gross domestic product. That said, a struggling auto industry paints a bleak picture for the Philippines’ consumer reliant economy, as weak demand for vehicles may signal the same for other durable goods.

With the measly month-on-month sales growth, AVID President Ma. Fe Perez-Agudo said “it has been an uphill struggle” for the industry.

“(B)ut the recent numbers are encouraging. As our nation progresses towards achieving herd immunity, the automotive industry has proven resilient and poised to emerge stronger than ever,” Perez-Agudo said in a statement.

Other figures

  • Imported passenger cars sold in June hit 1,350, up 13% year-on-year.
  • Importers, meanwhile, sold 3,556 light commercial vehicles, growing 44% on-year.
  • However, sales of imported commercial vehicles sagged 17% annually to 30 units in June.

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