Ghost month hampers car salesTotal auto industry sales continues to hold on to a relatively strong 13.1% growth so far for the first 9 months of the year despite the 14.9% decline for the singular month end sales for August, a seasonally low month, also called the 'ghost' month. Decline in sales is largely due to expected cyclicality. Automakers expect sales to pick up in the coming months with the introduction fo new models at the recently held 2nd Philippine International Motor Show.
The local industry still performed relatively well compared to developed markets such as the US where auto sales has declined for 10 straight months to a 16-year low. Philippine auto sales are still on track to reach forecasted growth targets.
Limited stock availability was the source of the minimal decline of 2.7% for passenger car sales for the month of August though overall, passenger car sales continue to be good with a 15% increase for the 9 months of the year. Passenger cars amounted to a thirty-five percent share of total vehicles sales with an increase in demand for smaller engine vehicles. Sales is expected to increase in September with new model releases.
Commercial vehicles continue to dominate the market with a 64.8% market share on all vehicles sold nationwide. Total sales continue to be strong with overall growth of 12.1% so far despite a 21% decline for the singular month of August. Sales targets for the segment are still on target for the year.
Aside from seasonality, AUV sales were also hampered by stock unavailability though limited to the month of August only. Overall sales are still strong with AUVs contributing 9.4% to total vehicles sales for the year. Preference for multi-purpose vehicles will continue to be strong and sales expected to increase in the coming months.
Light commercial vehicle sales continue to be a significant segment for the auto industry with a strong 14.9% growth so far despite the 20% decline in August sales. Preference for multi-purpose vehicles such as vans and pick up trucks will remain strong against the growing entrepreneurship trend and continued strong OFW remittances. The LCV segment with almost 30,000 sold, combined with the AUVs of over 22,000 units sold, represent the bulk of nationwide auto sales. These segments are key indicators of consumer demand.
Light Trucks YTD sales declined by 1.7% compared to the same period last year (Jan-August 2007). And, for month-to-date sales, an 11% growth was registered compared to July 2008 due to fleet accounts deliveries.