Imported vehicle sales declined 48.7% in the eight months to August this year and broke a month-on-month uptick due to the two-week stricter lockdown last month.
In a report released on Thursday, the Association of Vehicle Importers and Distributors, Inc. (AVID) said the industry’s 21 member companies and 26 global brands sold 29,360 units during the eight-month stretch, down from 57,202 in the same period last year.
Imported vehicle sales lost a month-on-month rising trend, falling seven percent to 5,100 vehicles in August compared with the earlier month.
Metro Manila and nearby provinces were once again placed under a modified enhanced community quarantine for the first two weeks of August in an attempt to curb the rise in the cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
The imported vehicle industry, however, expects to sustain its recovery in the last four months of the year.
“There are encouraging indicators of a sustained recovery for auto with the gradual reopening of businesses. Still, we remain vigilant since a key aspect of the industry’s revival is the restoration of consumer confidence through strict health and safety guidelines and rapid digital transformation,” AVID President Ma. Fe Perez-Agudo said.
She said that the industry needs government support for its recovery. Similar to the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (CAMPI), Ms. Perez-Agudo expressed concern about the government’s investigation on possible safeguard duties on imported vehicles.
The Trade department is conducting the safeguard investigation after the Philippine Metalworkers Association flagged a possible link between a surge in automotive imports and a decline in local employment.
“Prior to the lockdowns, we have conveyed our position that penalizing imports will not trigger investments nor address pressing issues faced by the local manufacturing sector. Rather, it is a disruptive measure, which will further inhibit the growth of the automotive industry and reduce our competitiveness in the region,” she said.
Passenger car sales, as of August, fell by 51% to 9,755 units, compared with 20,073 in the same period last year, with Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc. accounting for the bulk of the sales with 5,117 units.
Light commercial vehicle sales declined 46.8% to 19,412 units, led by Ford Group Philippines, Inc. which sold 5,082 units.
Commercial vehicle sales plummeted by 70% to the 193 units sold by Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc. — Jenina P. Ibañez