2020 was a very rough time for the local auto industry. The COVID-19 pandemic and its ensuing lockdowns left the local economy in shambles, and this is a hole carmakers and consumers alike are still struggling to climb out from more than a year since hardcore quarantines were last in effect.
What most saw as a crisis, though, others viewed as an opportunity. In the case of some of the more moneyed clientele in the local buy and sell market, this was a chance to finally pounce on that dream car at the dealership.
We recently spoke to Marcars Trading and Services Corporation—one of the bigger names in the Philippine used car industry—founder Marc Martinez at length about the impact of the COVID-19 lockdowns on his business. One of the most interesting points he brought up during the conversation was how well performance cars were selling during 2020’s worst period.
According to Martinez, while sales of used mass-market models like the Toyota Fortuner, Innova, and Vios ground to a halt when lockdowns were put into place, money made from moving higher-end vehicles helped keep Marcars afloat. Some of these closed sales include Chevrolet Corvettes, a pair of fully-loaded Nissan GT-Rs, a Porsche Carrera, and a Nissan 370Z.
“I can honestly say that during the lockdown, yung tipong everyone’s just at home and bawal lumabas, nabebenta yung mga super high-end units namin,” Martinez told Top Gear Philippines.
“I had a Corvette, GT-R—these are hard-selling cars. Honest to goodness, I’m happy na nabenta lahat. Ang mga hindi ko nabenta ang mga Fortuner, Innova, Vios—the ordinary cars hindi gumalaw. Pero the hard-selling cars, the above-average cars, yun ang nabenta ko.”
Martinez speculates that big-time buyers were simply looking for things to splurge on last year, browsing listings while stuck at home. This reinforces the belief that some consumers engaged in some ‘revenge retail’ spending during the pandemic; using the money they saved on aborted trips and vacations on other leisurely pursuits.
“Yun, nabebenta at pinapadeliver ko sa houses nila.”
Right now, one of Marcars’ easy sellers is the Mitsubishi Montero Sport—a model that a year ago he describes as “natutulog.”
Interesting stuff. Given the financial flexibility, would you have splurged on a used performance car during last year’s lockdowns? Let us know how you would handle a purchase like this in the comments.
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