Auto sales decline by 14.2% compared to the previous month as an aftermath of the powerful earthquake that shook Japan last March 11. However the Philippine auto industry still managed to grow 4.7% for the first four months of the year despite this.

Previously, the local industry forecasted a 4-5% growth for the year prior to the Tsunami disaster that crippled the auto supply chain, sending ripples across numerous countries worldwide who depend on key parts and components sourced from suppliers based in Japan.

"Currently, we are still within the forecast range. However, this may be revised accordingly as we move forward in the coming month with greater visibility on the extent of the damage and its lingering effect on local operations," says Ms. Elizabeth H. Lee, CAMPI President.

The industry sold a total of 48,109 units year to date for the first four months or an average of about 12,027 units a month. Passenger Cars (PC) grew by 8.9% year to date (YTD) selling 16,294 units nationwide while Commercial Vehicles (CV) grew by 2.8% YTD selling a total of 31,815 vehicles nationwide. CVs continue to dominate overall sales with a 66% share.

LCVs, which include pick up trucks, vans, compact SUVs and full size SUVs, continue to contribute the bulk of CV sales with a 61% share of overall CV sales. LCVs grew by 3.4% while AUV YTD sales declined slightly by 1% so far this year.

For the month of April alone, sales declined by 14.2% versus the previous month of March. However, when compared to the same month of April versus last year, the decline is less at just 4.5%, considering that 2010 was a high volume year given the election fever. The decline is due to unavailability of stocks for some models.

According to the CAMPI report, the effects of the tragedy are being felt as assembly plants scale down operations due to the lack of parts supply, as expected in the aftermath of the Japanese disaster.

"We continue to be cautiously optimistic. The scale and magnitude of the tragedy that rocked Japan was a shock to all. We continue to monitor the situation as we work with our principals on temporary solutions to help mitigate the impact and shorten the gap so operations can scale up to normal levels at the soonest time possible," says Ms. Lee.