COVID wipes out 5-year gains in car sales, recovery hoped

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    Vehicle sales in 2020 slumped to their lowest level since 2015 due to the effects of the new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)

    Total vehicle sales of the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc. (Campi) and Truck Manufacturers Association (TMA) and the Association of Vehicle Importers and Distributors (AVID) slumped 40 percent as expected to 275,512 units from 457,110 units in 2019.

    A joint report showed Campi and TMA sales were at their lowest since 2014, to 223,793 units, down 39.5 percent from 369,941 units in 2019 and short of the revised target of 240,000 units for the year.

    AVID sales were down 41 percent to 51,719 units in 2020 compared to the 87,169 vehicles sold in 2019. AVID attributed this decline to the lockdowns, limited economic activity, and weak consumer demand.

    Both Campi/TMA and AVID are hopeful of a recovery this year.

    Campi president Rommel Gutierrez expressed confidence sales this year will exceed the 240,000-mark following the 19 percent increase in December sales to 27,596 units from 23,162 units sold the previous month.

    “This double-digit growth is a positive development as the industry exerts efforts to reach pre-pandemic performance levels. It is noteworthy that the holiday season has contributed to the uptick in demand for auto sales in December amid the improving business and consumer confidence,”. Gutierrez said in a statement.

    AVID president Ma. Fe Perez-Agudo in a separate statement said automotive was among the hard hit sectors in this pandemic and industry continues to feel the impact as sales, after-sales and auto-related services remain lackluster.

    “Despite the hurdles, the industry quickly adapted to the new normal, survived, and are finally seeing some signs of revival. However, we see more headwinds in the coming months,” Agudo said.

    At Campi,  all segments recorded a decline with commercial vehicles falling 41 percent to 154,155 units from 260,744 units in 2019 or about 69 percent of total sales. Commercial vehicle sales were dragged by the 43 percent decline in the sales of light commercial vehicles to 116,858 units from 205,805 units in 2019.

    Sales of Asian utility vehicles were off 29 percent to 29,085 units from 40,838 units.
    Passenger car sales suffered a 36-percent decline to 69,638 units from 109,197 units.

    Toyota Motor Philippines Corp. sustained its Triple Crown feat – number one in sales of commercial vehicles, in passenger cars and in total sales — in a soft market.
    Toyota ended 2020 with 100,019 units of abut 45 percent of total sales. But this is 38 percent lower than 2019 sales of 162,011 units.

    Mitsubishi Motor Philippines Corp. remained at second with sales of 37,366 uunits of 16.7 percent of total sales.