Philippine auto sales edged higher by 2.2% in December 2018, month-on-month, reversing the negative movement during the previous month. The latest consolidated report from the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (CAMPI) and the Truck Manufacturers Association (TMA) showed a 31,945 unit sales total for the month.

Compared to the previous year, December 2018 sales paled by 29.8% down from last year’s 45,494 unit total. Total CAMPI, TMA volume for the year ended at 357,514, down by 16% compared to last year. It is noteworthy that sales during the last quarter of 2017 were driven mainly by advanced purchases in preparation for the application of higher excise taxes on cars in 2018.

Passenger Car sales was 1.13% higher totaling 9,301 units, covering 29.12% of the market. Commercial Vehicles sales was also up 2.6% totaling 22,644 units, representing the bulk of the market with 70.88%.

Light Commercial Vehicles (LCV) such as vans, pickups, and SUVs led the CV subsegments, comprising 79.33% of CV sales with 17,963 units sold; 2.1% more than the previous month's 17,594 unit total. The AUV/MPV segment, on the other hand, sold 3,539 units, up 12.6% from 3,142. Truck and bus sales went upstream as light truck sales declined 9.6% for a total of 681 units compared to the previous month's 753 units. Category 4 Heavy Duty Truck and Bus sales totaled 316 units (-25.6%) compared to last month's 425 units. Category 5 Heavy Duty Truck and Bus sold 145 units, (-1.4%) compared to last month's 147 units.

"The auto industry has been recovering since the second half of 2018. We are confident that the continued month-on-month positive sales growth rate during that period will be sustained in 2019. With GDP per capita on a high level, more new vehicle models to be introduced and a strong economy, we welcome the new year with great excitement," said Atty. Rommel Gutierrez CAMPI president.

The premium segment was mostly green with Mercedes-Benz (ANG) selling 65 units to top the list, BMW (SMC-ACDC) doubled-up with 54 units to keep second, Lexus (LMI) sold 48 units staying in third, and Jaguar-Land Rover (CMC) slightly down with 9 units in fourth.

Sales performances were positive for most brands. The top 3 advancers*: Isuzu (IPC) saw an significant jump of 35.8%, Toyota (TMP) gained 2.7%, and Ford (FGP) increased 2.5% due to heavy discounting of aging models.

However, some marques saw slight trims in their monthly sales figures. Top three decliners*: Suzuki (SPI) with a significant 20.9% drop, Mitsubishi (MMPC) sales declined by 9.7%; and Honda (HCPI) slid by 8%.

*only brands selling more than 100 units per month were included.

The top five performing manufacturers for the month of December are:

1. Toyota – 14,528 units (45.48% market share)

2. Mitsubishi – 5,499 units (17.21% market share)

3. Nissan – 3,289 units (10.3% market share)

4. Ford – 1,939 units (6.07% market share)

5. Honda – 1,918 units (6.00% market share)

In year-to-date sales, Toyota Motor Philippines Corporation continues its commanding lead in the market with 42.81-percent. Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corporation follows in second with 18.89-percent. Nissan slightly improves on its third position standing with 9.78-percent. Ford hangs on to fourth with 6.59-percent and Honda Cars Philippines, Inc. rounds up the top five with 6.52-percent.