Amidst a backdrop of uncertainty with higher excise taxes on fuel and vehicles, 2018 Philippine auto sales stood at 401,803 units. Despite being down 15.22% against a record 473,943 units sold the prior year.
The total sales figure is based on consolidated reports from Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (CAMPI), the Truck Manufacturers Association (TMA), and the Association of Vehicle Importers and Distributors (AVID).
Like the previous year, commercial vehicles took a larger share of the market with 271,108 units (67.32%) as Passenger Cars took the remaining 32.68% of the pie with 131,310 units.
2018’s decline comes after eight consecutive growth years for the Philippine automotive industry. While key model introductions managed to uplift the mood, its performance was significantly dampened by advance purchases during the latter part of 2017 in preparation for the excise tax hikes. Also affecting the industry was a slower economy affected by higher global fuel prices and a weaker Peso.
Compared to our ASEAN neighbors, the Philippine performance was a reverse of Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia; which all saw growth in 2018. However, joining the Philippines this was Singapore where slid by more than 15% amidst tightening rules on car ownership to reduce congestion and pollution.
Performance during the last quarter was generally good with October, November, December contributing significantly to the year total. Auto sales for CAMPI/TMA and AVID members totaled to 108,248 units in Q4.
Top 5 Brands
Toyota remains ahead with a commanding lead of the market with a 37.93% market share with 152,389 units sold. Toyota sales declined by 16.57% over the previous year's 182,657 units.
Mitsubishi Motors remains second with 66,081 units with a 16.45% market share. Remaining as one of the top performing markets for Mitsubishi, MMPC logged a 6.93% decline compared to last year's 71,001 units sold, but its market share has improved from 2017’s 14.98%.
Hyundai managed to hang on to third with 35,401 units sold with an 8.81% market share with a 6.04% decline year-on-year against a 37,678 unit total.
Nissan jumps to fourth with an industry trend reversing performance growing nearly 40% year-on-year, capturing 8.70% of the market. The Yokohama-based automaker sold 34,952 units against the previous year’s 24,995 units, a 39.68% gain.
Ford slid down to fifth, with a total of 23,571 units with a 5.87% market share. The American automaker’s sales dropped significantly by 35.64% compared to the previous year's 36,623 figure.
Honda slid down to sixth as it logged 23,294 units sold for 5.80% of the market, it declined 26.65% against 2017’s 31,758 unit total.
Armed with a lineup of small and affordable vehicles, Suzuki also managed to stay upbeat with a mild 2.48% gain, bringing their 2018 figure to 19,263 against 2017's 19,263 units. They managed to get 4.91% of the market.
Isuzu slid two places down to eighth, with a sharp 44.40% drop, selling only 16,729 units against 30,086 units during the previous year. Without a replacement for the venerable Crosswind MPV it had to phase out, Isuzu only captured 4.16% of the market.
Foton, the longest-running Chinese brand in the market increased its presence to 9thposition selling 4,141 units, breaking through 1.03% of the market. However, this was still 2.37% lower than their 2017 sales figure of 4,257 units.
Chevrolet continues to struggle in 2018, dropping 32.48% with a 4,017 unit total compared to the previous year's 5,949 unit total to take the final 10thposition, and 1% of the market.
Top 3 Premium Brands
Mercedes-Benz continues to lead the premium market with 773 passenger vehicles sold against 2017’s 1,588 units, which represents a sharp 51.32% decline.
Lexus inches up to second with 615 units, 50.84% down compared to the previous year’s 1,251 units.
BMW, which changed distributor owners during 2018, slid to third with 508 units sold, a 62.48% decline over the previous year's 1,354 unit total.
Top 5 Truck Brands
Isuzu remained the top seller with 6,258 units sold in the Light Truck (Cat III), Category IV Truck/Bus and Category V Truck/Bus sub-segments.
Hino comes in second with a 3,928 cumulative total, slowing down 2.53% after a 40.08% surge in 2017.
Foton improved its performance to 2,374 units to advance to third, advancing 2.68% compared to the prior year.
Fuso comes in fourth with 1,431 units sold, a significant 44.73% decline from the previous year.
New AVID member JAC finds itself rounding up Top 5 Truck brands of 2018 with 735 units.
Key Movers in 2018
Nissan resurgence into the Top 5 was propelled by with another 39.68% growth year-on-year, they landed in 4thon the final count, and even managed to touch third during some periods of the year. They also managed to capture the top spots in the pickup segment with the Navara.
Suzuki also the only other passenger vehicle brand to register an improvement in 2018. It gained 2.48% due to strategically priced models.
The truck segment also slowed down due to a gloomy economic mood. Although MAN and IVECO were able to register growths, their numbers, however, are far below the 1,000 unit threshold.
The premium category felt the sharpest hit due to the application of the TRAIN law, which imposed additional excise taxes on most of its key models. With brand sales taking hits of at least 50%. However, it is worth noting that the super-premium market actually grew in 2018.
CAMPI president Rommel Gutierrez expressed optimism that the industry will improve in performance as economic conditions continue to be favorable. New models introductions this year are also expected to prop up vehicle sales. AVID's president, was likewise optimistic about 2019.
"With new product launches and economic pressures seen abating moving forward, AVID expects that the industry will recover from the sales slump in 2019," said Ms. Ma. Fe Perez-Agudo, AVID president.