The Philippine auto industry ended with flat growth in 2019 as auto sales amounted to 416,637 units. This is based on consolidated reports from the three major automotive associations: CAMPI, TMA, and AVID.
The 2019 annual total was 14,834 units more than 401,803 units reported in 2018, a minimal 3.69% increase.
Commercial vehicles (which include SUVs, MPVs, pick-ups, crossovers, trucks, and buses) remain the driving force of the industry with a 69.18% share of the market, registering 288,228 units; passenger car sales totaled 128,409 units to take the remaining 30.82%.
2019 is considered as a challenging year as the industry felt the full impact of the TRAIN law which aimed to rationalize taxation of vehicles based on a new table, and additional excise taxes of fuel done in three tranches. Despite these factors, the collective efforts of industry players managed to steer the industry in a positive direction.
Compared to our regional neighbors, the Philippines, along with Vietnam were the only positive performers. Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand all saw declines in their 2019 auto sales charts.
“The year 2019 has been challenging for the industry due to various internal and external factors. Thankfully the industry’s collective efforts, supported by sustained economic growth, have paid off. We will not rest on our laurels as we aim for further growth in the coming months, and hopefully for the whole of 2020,” said Atty. Rommel Gutierrez, CAMPI president.
Top 5 Brands
Toyota remains ahead with a commanding lead of the market with a 38.74% market share with 161,395 units sold. Toyota sales improved by 5.91% over the previous year's 152,389 units.
Mitsubishi Motors remains second with 64,172 units with a 15.40% market share. MMPC logged a 3.05% decline compared to last year's 66,081 units sold. 2019 was Mitsubishi’s second consecutive year of decline.
Nissan improved to third with another impressive performance, capturing 10.25% of the market. Nissan sold 42,694 units 22.15% more against the previous year’s 34,952 units, a strong follow-up after 2018’s near 40% growth.
Hyundai slid down to fourth with 33,762 units sold with an 8.10% market share with a 4.63% decline year-on-year against a 35,401 unit total.
Suzuki found itself in the top five after a strong 2019 with 23,919 units sold, representing 5.74% of the market. Suzuki registered a 21.17% gain against 19,749 units sold in 2018.
Amidst strong competition, Ford was knocked out of the Top 5, ending 2019 in sixth overall, with a total of 21,900 units with a 5.26% market share. The American automaker’s sales declined by 7.09% compared to the previous year's 23,571 figure.
Honda slid down to seventh as it logged 23,294 units sold for 4.88% of the market, it declined 12.69% against 2018’s 23,294 unit total.
Isuzu remained in eighth with a 16.49% dip in sales; the company sold only 13,971 units against 16,729 units during the previous year. Isuzu remains without an MPV model which contributed significantly to its market share in the previous years (that would be the Crosswind). Isuzu only captured 3.35% of the market.
A new Chinese brand has emerged as a dark horse in the Top 10 rankings, MG reported sales of 5,085 units in 2019, putting them on the 9th overall spot. TCCCI took over the distributorship of the brand in late 2018 and is riding on the same wave of success it's been having in other markets as well.
With a renewed distributor, now Ayala-led Kia found itself ending 2019 in 10th overall with a 124.3% gain compared to the previous year. The Korean brand sold 5,019 units representing 1.21% of the market, more than doubling its 2018 sales figure of 2,238 units.
“AVID’s performance in the last month of the year augurs well for the automotive industry as we begin the Year of the Metal Rat and the new decade. The continued easing of inflation rates, lower fuel prices, and increased government spending will only bolster sales for the group. We will complement these positive indicators with new models, value-packed service offerings, and easier ownership schemes,” said Ms. Ma. Fe Perez-Agudo, AVID president.
Top 3 Premium Brands
After a major reorganization in its Philippine distribution and sales operations, BMW finds itself back on top of the premium segment. Sales totaled 920 units, nearly doubling its 2018 performance of 508 units. The 81.8% gain resulted in 0.22% of the total market.
Mercedes-Benz continues to lead the premium market with 885 passenger vehicles sold against 2018’s 773 units, which represents a 14.49% gain.
Lexus found itself fumbling for market share in 2019 rounding up the Top 3 with 616 units, merely 1 unit more compared to the previous year’s 615 units.
Top 5 Truck Brands
Isuzu remained the top seller with 6,279 units sold in the Light Truck (Cat III), Category IV Truck/Bus and Category V Truck/Bus sub-segments. Isuzu continues to lead Cat III and Cat IV segments.
Hino stays in second with a 3,665 cumulative total, slowing down by 6.7%.
Foton remained in third with 2,064, declining 13.06% compared to the prior year.
Fuso comes in fourth with 1,583 1,431 units sold, a 10.62% gain from the previous year.
Hyundai is gaining momentum in its truck business as it finds itself rounding up Top 5 Truck brands of 2019 with 907 units, an outstanding 63.4% gain.
Key Movers in 2019
Kia emerged as the top-performing marque in 2019 in terms of growth with a 124.3% jump to 5,019 as the new AC Motors controlled brand found its way back to the Top 10 best-selling brands of the year.
Nissan continued its strong performance from 2018 and ended with a 22.15% improvement to break through the 40,000 unit barrier with 42,694 units to claim the third overall position.
Suzuki’s impressive performance in 2019 led by new offerings and competitive pricing gave it a 21.17% year-on-year increase landing it on the final spot in the Top 5 standings with 23,919 units sold.
Brought about more favorable taxation of cars from China through the ACFTA (ASEAN China Free Trade Agreement) which took effect in 2018, we saw the more Chinese brands in the country MG completed their first full-year operation with 5,085 units sold, significantly besting TCCCI's Chevrolet brand. GAC sold 234 units, while Sojitz-distributed Geely reported 229 units sold in just three months of operations.
Sales in the medium to heavy-duty commercial vehicle segment showed a slight recovery in 2019. Foton, Fuso, Hyundai, and Isuzu all showed positive gains as demand for private and public transport vehicles increased.
The premium segment started to make a comeback. Leading the way is BMW with an 81.10% increase. Jaguar and Land Rover brands reported a 28.24% increase compared to 2018. PGA Cars’ posted a strong 739 unit sales as well with a 25.43% gain as Audi posted its best-ever Philippine sales of 501 units in 2019, the remaining 238 units was divided between their Porsche, Bentley, and Lamborghini brands. Mercedes-Benz also saw a 14.49% increase. With premium customers leaning towards more competitively-priced premium European offerings, Lexus saw itself with a negligible 1 unit growth in 2019.
Volkswagen saw the most significant drop at 59.65%, selling only 550 units after revamping its offerings from global models to a fully China-sourced lineup. Despite new model offerings, Mazda saw its sales drop by 1,111 units; it represented a 29.41% decline.
Chevrolet also dropped several places from the sales ladder as it registered a 20.96% drop due to an aging lineup and uncertainty over its Southeast Asian business. It stopped distribution in Malaysia in November 2018 and followed with an announcement in October 2019 to discontinue its Indonesian sales operations by March 2020. It has also been struggling in Thailand, as the automaker cut 327 jobs by end of August 2019. Chevrolet only sold 15,161 units in 2019, far less than premium brands such as BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
The industry remains optimistic for 2020 as the continued easing of inflation rates, lower fuel prices, and increased government spending should entice consumers to purchase new vehicles.