Car sales went up to 4.6 percent last month at 10,450 units sold, compared to April's figures. Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines (CAMPI) President Elizabeth H. Lee said the overall sales from January to May declined 3.7 percent, but automotive players remain optimistic as May's figures indicate consumer confidence in the market.

Passenger Vehicles (PV) posted 8.1 percent sales increase at 3,770 units sold. Commercial Vehicles (CV), meanwhile, displayed growth of only 2.8 percent. Lee said increase in PV sales was due to the entry of new models and the market beginning to embrace compact cars. CVs' weak performance, on the other hand, was due mainly to unavailability of units to serve some fleet accounts for the month.

Total vehicles sold by the industry from January to May is at 40,002 units, lower than sales of 50,883 units during the same period last year. Total PV sold is 17,562 units, making for 2.3 percent sales increase, while total CV sold fell 6.7 percent to 31,440 units.

Players remain optimistic, preferring to wait for the results of the year's first-half before making adjustment decisions and forecast. Their efforts to attract buyers amid bleak economic conditions such as promotions and easy payment schemes give CAMPI reason to expect stable sales growth in the coming months.

CV sales continue to dominate total nationwide sales, covering 64.2 percent of the market, while PC sales comprise the remaining 35.8 percent. Filipinos continue to patronize multipurpose vehicles, with the AUV, Vans, and pickup truck dominating total sales for the segment.

"The local auto industry is still doing relatively well considering the drastic decline in sales in the more developed markets such as the USA, where sales are down 36 percent from last year," says Lee. "OFW remittances continue to be a strong factor in consumer spending as it serves as a barometer for consumer confidence. Sustained vehicle sales is supported by the fact that vehicles are increasingly being considered a necessity rather than luxury. Furthermore, auto players are offering programs that make it easier for buyers to purchase the vehicles they need. All these factors combined help us sustain a positive momentum."