PH auto industry suffers around 40-percent loss in disaster-filled 2020

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As many expected, the Philippine automotive industry got hurt with the series of unfortunate events that happened last year. This was the gist of the report from both automotive manufacturers’ group and local vehicle importers group.

Both factions felt around 40-percent slide with the string of occasions that led to the slowdown of their sales.

In their joint report, the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (CAMPI) and Truck Manufacturers Association (TMA) have only sold 223,793 units for the full 12 months of 2020—a 39.5-percent decrease compared to the 369,941 units of the previous year. Their December 2020 sales only yielded 23,162, units which is down by 18.1 percent compared to the same month in 2019. However, taking it as sign of steady recovery for last year, CAMPI-TMA stated that it was 19.1 percent higher compared to November last year, which was only at 23,162 percent.

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CAMPI president Atty. Rommel Gutierrez said that the double-digit growth experienced last year is “a positive development for the industry 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 also said.

On the other hand, the Association of Vehicle Importers and Distributors, Inc. (AVID) also reported similar decline, after they experienced a 41-percent drop, rolling out only 51,719 units in 2020 unlike the 87,169 vehicles that they delivered the previous year. The 21-member group representing 26 brands attributed this decline to the lockdowns, limited economic activity, and weak consumer demand. 

But they also also saw growth in December sales, with 5,683 units sold for the month, a 15-percent rise versus November 2020’s 4,953 units sold—to which they also considered a slow but steady recovery coming from the “most challenging period in PH automotive industry.”

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AVID President Ma. Fe Perez-Agudo said that while they are feeling the industry recuperate, they are still looking at more challenges in the coming months.

 “Automotive was among the hard hit sectors in this pandemic and we continue 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 is finally seeing some signs of revival. However, we see more headwinds in the coming months,” Agudo said.

The vehicle importers group is pertaining to the added tax that will be slapped unto their products as an additional P70,000 tariff for passenger cars (PC) and P110,000 for Light Commercial Vehicles (LCV) will soon be imposed.

“While the worst may be behind us, we still have a long way to go. If we are to restore consumer confidence and revive this sector, we should focus on creating more job opportunities, upgrade infrastructure and logistics, and improve the ease and cost of doing business. We are all for the long-term development of the auto industry in the new normal,” Agudo noted.

Photos from Ruben D. Manahan IV

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