Auto sales for January 2011 reflected a 5.8% growth against the same month last year. A total of 11,046 units were sold nationwide with passenger cars (PC) posting a growth of 15.3% and commercial vehicles (CV) increasing by 1.1%, although CVs still dominated with a 64% share of total vehicle sales. Expected to be a seasonally low month, January posted a 19.7% decline against the traditionally highest month of the year - December.

The Passenger Car segment sold 3,997 units while 7,049 Commercial Vehicle units were sold for the month of Jan 2011.

The industry sees 2011 as a positive year as overall economic environment continues to be relatively favorable with sustained business and consumer confidence, GDP growth, stable FOREX, positive forecast for OFW remittances, manageable inflation rate forecast, continued healthy financing environment, as well as new model introductions by auto players this year.

"Sales however, is just one part of the total equation that makes our Philippine auto industry. To compete the picture, and to compete for the future, we must likewise put our attention on how the industry can truly grow using the inherent advantages that support job creation and significant value-added to temper the growing CBU share," said Ms. Elizabeth Lee, CAMPI President.

"Further, and more importantly, we look forward to increased investments and/or expansion of CKD assembly as well as enhancement of parts and components manufacturing to be part of this year's objectives given government's clear thrust to support our own Philippine auto industry," adds Ms. Lee.

The government recently included automotive as a priority under the 2011 IPP, thereby putting the development of the domestic auto industry as well as auto parts manufacturing a major policy thrust.

With this positive move, we enter 2011 with renewed hope given government's direction to expand local assembly operations to include parts and components manufacturing, create jobs, and create a competitive environment for increased investments into the country.

"The government realizes the importance and the contribution of a healthy local auto assembly/manufacturing to include auto parts manufacturing as a strategic advantage that can contribute significantly to the country's future. Our Philippine auto industry is relevant and offers a wide vista of opportunities for employment and the development of local engineering skills. The auto industry is so relevant that globally, in the top industrialized countries of the world, you would find automotive and its related industries among its top 10 companies. And considering that the auto market of the future is in Asia, we must exploit the fact that we, the Philippines, is right smack in the middle of it. The advantages are numerous," says Ms. Lee.

The industry looks forward to sustained growth in the coming months.