Vehicle importers experienced a 16% drop in unit sales in January, attributed to the effect of the Taal eruption and the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Association of Vehicle Importers and Distributors Inc. (Avid) – representing 25 automotive brands – said it only sold 5,433 units in January, fewer than the 6,482 units sold in the same month last year.
The group only accounts for a small slice of auto sales in the Philippine automotive industry.
Avid experienced the biggest sales drop compared to the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc. and Truck Manufacturers Association, which account for most of the auto industry.
Sales from the car and truck manufacturers dropped nearly 12 percent to 23,723 units in January.
Avid president Ma. Fe Perez-Agudo said, “2020 will be a very challenging year for the industry given the slowdown in automotive demand, supply chain disruptions and dampened consumer confidence caused by these twin events.”
“Fortunately, the Philippine economy remains strong backed by robust public spending, private consumption and lower interest rates,” she said, confident that Avid members would eventually bounce back.
Sales across all Avid segments dropped. Passenger car sales dropped 31 percent to 1,553 units, while light commercial vehicles dropped 7.3 percent to 3,855 units. Commercial vehicles, which only consists of Hyundai units, dropped 63 percent to 25 units.
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is investigating the claim of a labor group that too many imported vehicles in the past few years were already hurting local jobs.