The auto industry registered a considerable growth two months in a row, starting the year on a positive path to higher sales for 2011. Auto sales for the first 2 months of year were pegged at 22,518 vehicles nationwide.

"Auto sales for the month of February grew by another 5.8% compared to the same period last year- a good sign, considering the high growth rate seen in 2010 whose sales were primarily boosted by election fever and the effects of typhoon Ondoy," says Elizabeth H. Lee, CAMPI President.

Commercial Vehicles (CV) continue to dominate overall vehicle sales nationwide cornering 65% share with Passenger Cars (PC) taking up 35% share. Both segments grew with PCs growing slightly faster than CVs. The PC category grew by 8.6% selling 7,856 cars while CVs grew by 4.3% selling 14,662 vehicles nationwide.

Although AUV sales year to date declined by 8.6%, February sales picked up showing a growth of 23.3% vs. January sales due to increased promotions. LCV sales growth continues to be sustained, adding another 8.6% growth so far this year, selling 9,298 vehicles nationwide. LCVs which include pick up trucks, vans, and compact wagons, remain the largest sub-segment of vehicles that continues to perform well with sustained growth thus far.

"We continue to be optimistic despite the increase in fuel prices given other key factors, including inflation, remain within a comfortable level. Meanwhile, banks continue to be aggressive in their lending activities, the entrepreneurial trend continues to help boost sales and OFW remittances will continue to help fuel consumption. We remain hopeful that the conflict in the Middle East will be short-lived. Further, we expect the positive gains earned by businesses last year, to be reflected into productive use this year. Expansion is still seen in the business sector."

Last year, the auto industry experienced an unprecedented growth of 27.2%. Regionally, the ASEAN as a whole likewise grew by about 32% selling almost 2.5 million vehicles for the region. The ASEAN region is seen as a rising star, globally.

"It is hoped that the Philippines can be a stronger participant in the region's growth. We anticipate a clear road map that will pave the way for a faster and stronger integration with ASEAN in terms of trade using obvious local PHI auto industry advantages which include available assembly plant capacities, highly skilled and technically competent auto workers, and the presence of local parts and components industry," says Ms. Lee. The Philippines must take part of the growing opportunity which will greatly benefit the country, its workers, and consumers alike.