“We are on track to achieve our revised sales forecast of 240,000 units—the baseline for our medium-term recovery plan.”
This is the statement of Atty. Rommel Gutierrez, president of the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines (CAMPI), in the latest joint sales report released by CAMPI and the Truck Manufacturers Association (TMA).
In October 2020, automotive brands under the two groups managed a combined sales total of 24,523 units, which reflects a 2% growth over the 24,523 units sold in the previous month. This brings their year-to-date sales to 173,035 units with two months left to hit the revised target. Versus the corresponding figure in 2019, year-to-date sales is currently down by -42.7% for 2020.
Commercial vehicles represent the bulk of units sold so far 119,968, while passenger cars account for 53,067 units. In terms of market share, Toyota Motor Philippines remains unchallenged at the top, taking 43.26% of total sales (74,848 units, including Lexus sales). Mitsubishi Motors Philippines comes second after capturing 17.31% (29,950 units). Completing the top five are Nissan Philippines (10.36% or 17,931 units), Suzuki Philippines (7.12% or 12,321 units), and Ford Philippines (6.65% or 11,507 units).
While CAMPI’s October 2020 sales represent its highest sales volume since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, it cites the safeguard investigation on imported automobiles as one reason for its “very cautious” industry outlook.
According to the notice given to the World Trade Organization in February 2020, the said investigation “was initiated on the basis of the petition submitted by members of the Philippine Metalworkers’ Association (PMA).” The PMA asserted that “increased imports of motor vehicles are the substantial cause of serious injury to the domestic industry in terms of declining market share, production sales, capacity utilization, incurred losses, employment, price depression and price undercutting.”
The Philippine Star reported in March 2020 that the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) was expected to come up with a decision on the matter later that month, but further developments have been limited since the start of the COVID-19 quarantine.
As reported by Inquirer.net in September 2020, the Association of Vehicle Importers and Distributors (AVID) had expressed its concern that ‘safeguard taxes’ will be imposed on imported vehicles. “Prior to this lockdown, we have conveyed our position that penalizing imports will not trigger investments or address pressing issues faced by the local manufacturing sector,” said AVID president Ma. Fe Perez-Agudo. “Rather, it is a disruptive measure, which will further inhibit the growth of the automotive industry and reduce our competitiveness in the region.”
“The industry is in a vulnerable state right now,” said Atty. Gutierrez in CAMPI’s October 2020 report, “and the imposition of safeguard measure will only limit our ability to navigate the crisis.”