Imported vehicle sales shift to higher gear in H1

Imported vehicle sales shift to higher gear in H1

MANILA, Philippines — Vehicle importers saw their sales accelerate 55 percent in the first semester from a year ago when restrictions imposed by the government amid the coronavirus pandemic dampened demand for cars.

In a statement yesterday, the Association of Vehicle Importers and Distributors Inc. (AVID) said the group’s total sales reached 30,153 units in the first half, up from the 19,509 units sold in the same period last year.

AVID’s passenger car (PC) sales rose 26 percent to 7,707 units in the January to June period, from 6,128 units the previous year.

Light commercial vehicle (LCV) sales went up 64 percent to 21,684 units as of end-June from 13,244 units in the same period a year ago.

Commercial vehicle (CV) sales, meanwhile, jumped 456 percent to 762 units in the first semester from just 137 units in the same period last year.

In June alone, AVID’s total sales increased 33 percent to 4,936 units from the previous year’s 3,698 units.

AVID sold 1,350 PC units in June, 13 percent higher than the 1,200 units in the same month a year ago.

The group’s LCV sales climbed 44 percent to 3,556 units in June from 2,462 units in the same month last year.

As for CVs, AVID’s sales declined 17 percent to 30 units in June from 36 units the previous year.

Compared with the total sales of 4,871 units in May, AVID’s June sales were up by just one percent.

“It has been an uphill struggle for the automotive industry, more so among importers, but the recent numbers are encouraging,” AVID president Ma. Fe Perez-Agudo said.

Apart from the ongoing pandemic, another challenge faced by vehicle importers is the provisional safeguard duty imposed by the government on imported PCs and LCVs.

Last February, the Department of Trade and Industry started imposing a safeguard duty amounting to P70,000 for every imported PC and P110,000 for an imported LCV,  in response to a petition from workers in local car assembly plants who are hurting from the country’s increased automobile imports.

“As our nation progresses towards achieving herd immunity, the automotive industry has proven resilient and poised to emerge stronger than ever. With better prospects ahead, we will continue to give our best to ensure the complete recovery of the industry,” Agudo said.