Automakers Set Mid-Year Target Review

The local automotive industry is currently reviewing its second semester sales numbers as initial figures bode a grim outlook for the rest of the year given rising interest rates, weak peso, and higher vehicle price tags due to the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law. Nevertheless, the industry as a whole is hoping conditions will increase in the second half of the year, with estimates favoring a slight year-on-year gain.

Dante Santos, president of Truck Manufacturers Association (TMA), reported that the committee heads of his group and those from the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (CAMPI) have not been happy with the initial numbers on which they will base a new sales growth target for the second half this year.

"Maybe the parameters of the first semester are not available in the second semester. Things might improve. First semester was pretty bad," Santos told reporters Thursday in Taguig City during the 30th anniversary celebration of Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP).

Sales dropped by a staggering 12.5 percent for the first semester of the year, from 195,772 units in the first half of 2017 to just 171,362 this year.

"Conditions can't be bad forever, so we need to analyze thoroughly how the second semester will play out. That’s what we want to project. Because we’re not very comfortable if we start by saying things will fall," Santos added.

"We’re trying to observe (financial environment) because we felt the interest rates are starting to move and if there is movement the market will adjust," Santos said of the group's planned mid-year target assessment.

Santos also said that the industry is trying very hard to maintain vehicle prices at current levels even after being hit hard by the first package of the TRAIN Law, which raised excise taxes for vehicles.

"As long as we can maintain prices, we will. We are trying to protect the market from higher prices," Santos said in closing.

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