The Philippine Automotive Industry starts the new year on a high as total auto sales for 2009 exceeded expectations showing an overall growth of 6.4%, surpassing its forecast of a high of only 4% at the beginning of the year. Vehicles sales for 2009 totaled to 132,244 vehicles.

December auto industry sales surpassed expectations as it registered the highest singular monthly sales volume of over 13,596 in a decade, closing the year with a total of 132,444 vehicles sold against last year's 124,449.The highest monthly sales was a 7% jump from the already strong November sales. 2009 added another 6.4% growth against 2008 sales averaging 11,073 monthly sales volume for the year.

"Although December sales were expected to be seasonally higher, the stronger spike in sales was a welcome result. This augurs well for 2010." says Elizabeth Lee, CAMPI president.

The strong sales result for the year has indeed exceeded expectations with the industry's original forecast at the start of 2009 with only a high of 4% growth and a flat growth as a worst case scenario. "Stronger growth was due to higher replacement rate coupled with stronger than expected growth in OFW remittances and aggressive financing packages--which fueled consumption resulting to higher vehicle sales." says Lee.

Despite slow sales during the first half of the year, a strong surge in the market during the latter half of the year more than made up for it. Passenger Car (PC) sales grew by 4.1%, selling 46,228 vehicles, while the continuously strong Commercial Vehicle (CV) segment sold by 7.7% more logging in a total of 86,216 vehicles cornering over 65% of total vehicles sold nationwide. The further increase in overall sales for the CV segment reflect the Filipino buyer's preference for dual purpose vehicles. The Light Commercial Vehicle (LCV) segment in particular, resulted in a double-digit growth of 15.8% selling over 52,700 units nationwide. LCVs comprise of the popular AUVs, pick up trucks, vans, & compact wagons. Stronger growth in this segment is seen for 2010 as an important segment that will carry the CV category.

The industry currently projects a conservative 4% growth for 2010 subject to quarterly review depending on changes in the market. "Factors that will affect stronger sales for 2010 include fleet deliveries to the national and local government, relatively good economic growth forecast of about 4.4% growth, improved demand resulting from higher OFW remittances of at least 7% growth which in turn will likely support the peso, election spending, aggressive promotions from auto players and expected new model introductions. 2010 should be an exciting year for all."says Ms. Lee.

The 2009 YTD sales for the Passenger Car segment still proved to be consistently stable as it sustained its growth contributed by the timely arrival of stocks, with preference for smaller engine cars within the PC segment cornering most of the sales. For the year, a total of 46,228 units were sold equivalent to 4.1% increase compared to 44,426 units of 2008. Month on month sales posted a growth of 4.2% due to stable stock availability and attractive promos.

CV sales continued to dominate the market with a growth of 7.7% year to date (2009 vs 2008). December sales increased significantly by 8.5% versus November. Dealer incentives promos, better supply condition and strong sales of the new & upgraded models helped augment the performance of this category.

Month on month sales, the AUV segment continued to support the strong growth of the industry yielding a 9.9% growth due to continuous demand on AUV diesel models. AUV sales decreased by 4.5% compared to the same period last year (January-December 2008) due to price increase of some models.

Sales of the LCV segment continued to be the biggest in terms of volume in the CV segment with 52,709 units sold for year 2009 yielding a strong double-digit growth of 15.8% over 2008. The popular vans, pick up trucks, and compact wagons are the contributors of growth for the segment. The growth of 4.6% compared to November was contributed by the availability of stocks, dealer incentives, introduction of new & upgraded models and seasonal demand.