December sales reached 9,885 units still posting an increase of 1%.
Sales volume for the month of December would have been higher if it were not for the unusually long holidays, cutting short selling opportunities by almost 2 weeks.
"Elsewhere in and around the world, the auto markets of developed countries experienced steep declines due to the credit crunch coupled by deteriorating consumer confidence in those respective markets.
Thankfully, there is enough liquidity in the local financing environment with consumers able to take out loans for their personal and business needs. " says Elizabeth Lee, CAMPI President.
Auto players remain positive compared to other auto markets .
"Although a spill over effect from the global economic downturn is expected, the DEGREE of impact is expected to be relatively less"
says Ms. Lee. This is further validated by the recent FITCH Ratings describing the Philippines to be less vulnerable than other countries given that our banks and external financial position are sound.
"OFW remittances will remain a significant engine of consumption. This year, competition will be stiff which may in turn benefit auto buyers.
The entrepreneurial trend will likely continue and may get stronger as returning OFWs may be 'forced' to become dual income earners while at the same time, opportunities are likely to crop up amidst any crisis (though the PHI is not in a crisis at this time, unlike the US)," she added.
The industry projects stable sales with a conservative growth of 2-4% for 2009 with new model introductions seen within the year. Commercial vehicles continue to dominate the market with an overall market share of 64%. Over 80,000 commercial vehicles were sold in 2008 with the remainder of 36% sold under Passenger cars.
"It will be a challenging year for most, but nevertheless we are still looking forward to growth year for 2009." says MS. Lee.
Overall Passenger Car sales ended the year with an 8.5% growth selling a total of 44,426 cars for the year despite the 17.8% decline in December sales due to lack of stocks and shorter selling days. Volumes were sustained by small engine cars supported by the extension of promotion subsidies.
CV sales continued to dominate the market with an overall 64.3% share of total sales nationwide. Overall CV sales registered a 4% growth over 2007 sales with a remarkable 12.4% jump in sales in the month of December despite the shortened selling days supported by strong sales of dual purpose vehicles such as AUVs, vans and pick up trucks.
Strong sales of the new and upgraded models helped boost the performance of vehicles in the segment as well. CV sales will likely remain strong throughout the year as buyers become more scrutinizing in their vehicles purchases, looking for products with the best value for money they can find.
New models for the AUV segment continued to support the strong growth with a 32,275 unit sales for the Jan-December period as against the same period last year (Jan-Dec 2007) yielding a 1% growth due to continuous demand on AUV diesel models. Month on month sales posted a significant 12.6% increase due to completion of new fleet deals.
Sales of the LCV segment continued to be strong as the largest contributor of growth for the CV category. LCVs comprise of vans, pick up trucks, compact wagons . There were 44,932 LCVs sold in 2008 with an overall growth of 7.1% and a robust December sales growth of 11.7% despite the short number of selling days and despite the daily doom & gloom reports from other auto markets. Availability of stocks, dealer incentives, and introduction of new & upgraded models also helped boost sales. LCVs are expected to perform relatively strong for the year with emphasis on dual purpose vehicles used for both personal and business needs.
Light Trucks sales decreased by 15% compared to the same period last year (Jan-Dec 2007). For December, this segment increased by 4.3% versus November due to fleet sales deliveries.
Another CV segment which continued to move forward is the Cat IV & V, truck& bus category which posted a growth of 15.1% compared to the same period last year (Jan-December 2007). Growth was mainly driven by sales of the front and rear engine bus models. For the month of December, Cat. 4 increased significantly by 48.7% due to increase in fleet requirements and deliveries in time for the long holidays.