Industry group Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers in the Philippines (CAMPI) expects a modest sales growth of up to five percent in 2011 following a strong performance in 2010.
"The growth rate will likewise be adjusted accordingly on a quarterly basis depending on the overall sales performance," CAMPI president Elizabeth H. Lee said in a statement.
It may be recalled that CAMPI started 2010 with basically the same growth forecast. As of November, however, sales were already up 28 percent due to high demand for new vehicles coupled by the availability of cash from overseas Filipino workers' remittances, accessibility of various financing options, and the arrival of new products from different car manufacturers. CAMPI said it will release the December figures to cap off the car sales report for 2010 "in the coming days."
But could the conservative forecast be due to Hyundai Asia Resources' move to leave CAMPI? Hyundai has earlier confirmed it left the organization on December 31, which means a huge chunk of sales will be taken off CAMPI's number starting this month.
When asked if Hyundai's resignation had an impact on the low forecast for CAMPI's 2011 sales, this is what Lee sent via text message to TopGear.com.ph:
"Numbers will purely reflect combined CAMPI-TMA (Truck Manufacturers' Association) sales as usual. We should still exceed highest ever sales. 2010 has been a good year for auto. We look forward to 2011 also with renewed hope of strengthening CKD (completely knocked down) operations and protecting assembly jobs given (Department of Trade and Industry) Usec. (Cristino) Panlilio's statement on making locally assembled vehicles more attractive to the Philippine market."
While Lee is focusing on assemblers, Hyundai president and chief executive Fe Perez-Agudo is currently heading the Association of Vehicle Importers and Distributors (AVID). Both parties are reported to be disagreeing over perks given to players in the automotive industry.
UPDATE: CAMPI's Lee sent a follow-up text to clarify the five percent growth forecast for the industry. Here it goes:
"We are expecting 2011 sales to follow the seasonality of industry sales, which was not the case in 2010 due to elections in the early half of that year as well as the post-Ondoy effect. Hence the initial four- to five-percent forecast at the onset."