Auto sector seeks support amid 49% sales slump


    Total vehicle sales plunged 49 percent in the first seven months of the year.

    Industry leaders are seeking government support in the face of an expected 42 percent decline in sales which they said will have serious operational and financial impact on the sector.

    In separate reports, the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers Association of the Philippines Inc./Truck Manufacturers Association (Campi/TMA) and the Association of Vehicle Importers and Distributors Inc. (AVID) said sales reached 130,196 units from 256,096 units a year ago.

    Campi/TMA members sold a total 105,583 units, down 49 percent from 205,945 last year while AVID sold 24,607 units, down 51 percent from 50,151 units in 2019.

    In July, Campi/TMA reported a 32-percent increase in sales to 20,542 from 15,578 units in June as quarantines eased.

    “It is understandable that achieving the industry’s average monthly pre-COVID-19 level remains elusive and a challenge at the same time amid this pandemic and the recent pronouncement of economic recession. But this month-on-month of nearly 32-percent growth is what the industry needs at this point to achieve its sales forecast of 240,000 units for this year,” said Rommel Gutierrez, Campi president.

    This sales volume target is equivalent to 41.5 percent decrease compared with the total industry sales volume recorded a year ago.

    Gutierrez said the Department of Trade and Industry is studying Campi’s recommendations for support.

    “The industry is doing all it can to sustainably provide sales promotions to encourage customers amid another stricter community quarantine for this month. The industry is ensuring that all the necessary safety measures are strictly observed to protect both our customers and our frontliners,” Gutierrez said.

    AVID also noted a healthy recovery in July with 5,100 units sold, up 38 percent from the 3,697 units sold in June .

    “The entire industry is undergoing rapid digital transformation to meet the evolving needs of consumers, employing innovative and disruptive selling tactics to win back customers, and the agility to adapt to a more complex and unpredictable business environment,” said AVID president Ma. Fe Perez-Agudo.

    Agudo believes the industry has bottomed out in the first semester and that second half of the year will be better assuming there are no further lock downs past August 18.

    “Our focus now is to win back consumer confidence and give them the best value during these pandemic times,” she added. (I. Isip)