Last year, the Philippine automotive industry posted a total vehicle sales of 323,928 units, the highest number ever in cumulative local sales surpassing the previous record from 2014 at 269,841.

The Philippine automotive industry has exceeded the 320,000 unit sales target set by the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines (CAMPI), the Association of Vehicles Importers and Distributors (AVID) and the Truck Manufacturers Association (TMP) last 2015.

With the country's sixth consecutive automotive sales milestone, CAMPI president Atty. Rommel Gutierrez said that the Philippine automotive industry is looking to sell 350,000 units for the FY 2016. This amounts to a very conservative nearly 10-percent increase from the 323,928 units sold last year.

In a recent report by CAMPI and TMA, the local automotive industry posted a good start in 2016 with a 27.6-percent year-on-year growth last January. The industry sold 23,808 units as compared to 18,662 units in the same month in 2014.

Citing CAMPI's data, the Passenger Cars posted nearly 20-percent increase from 7,200 units in January 2015 to 8,632 units last month. The Commercial Vehicles grew by 32-percent from 11,462 units to 15,176 units. AUVs sales also went up from 3,542 units in January 2015 to 4,780 units in the previous month while SUVs had the least growth of 29-percent to 9,678 units from 7,483.

Category 3 (Light Duty Trucks and Buses) also improved with 392 units sold having 42-percent boost. Category 4 (Heavy Duty Trucks and Buses) had a 53-percent lift with 156 units sold. Lastly, Category 5 (Heavy Duty Trucks and Buses) led the growth in Commercial Vehicle sector with 188-percent increase, from 59 units sold in the same period last year to 170 units last month.

As of January 2016, Toyota Motors Philippines Corp. still occupies the top spot with 39.2-percent market share, followed by Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp. with 20.4-percent and Ford Motor Company Philippines, Inc. with 10.3-percent.

On the other hand, Toyota Motor Philippines Corp. is eyeing to reach 137,000 units this year, a very modest 10-percent gain compared to 124,426 units sold last 2015. This figure is expected to grow with the increase as the leading automaker is introducing the 2016 Fortuner and 2016 Innova, which are expected to drive sale volume.

Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp. is targeting to boost its sales by nearly 30-percent to 70,000 units. Last year, Mitsubishi finished with a total of 54,087 units sold, an 8-percent growth compared to the 50,085 units sold in 2014.

Earlier this month, Mitsubishi announced that the all-new Montero Sport sold 806 units, while the previous generation registered 816 units. The brand claims that last month's sales registered a 50-percent rise compared to the same period last year.

Aside from increasing its sales target, Mitsubishi is also proposing an investment of PhP 4.3 billion as its participation in the Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS) program. Under this program, Mitsubishi plans to produce the Mirage hatchback and the Mirage G4 sedan locally.

Ford Motor Company Philippines posted its third consecutive record year with overall retail sales in 2015 that increased 25-percent to 25,372 units. Ford's record year was led by the EcoSport, Ford’s best-selling nameplate in the Philippines in 2015, posting a full-year sales increase of 67-percent to 8,702 units. As a result, Ford became the number three-selling automotive brand in the Philippines in 2015. The brand yielded a total of 25,372 units sold which represents a 24.7-percent growth over 2014.

Hyundai Asia Resources Inc. (HARI) is looking to climb back into the third spot of the sales charts this year with a target of 35,000 units for its passenger vehicle lineup. HARI president and CEO Ma. Fe Perez-Agudo said they are counting on its newly launched models such as the Elantra and Tucson to help boost sales for 2016. HARI recently inked the official Philippine distributorship deal for Hyundai's Commercial Vehicle lineup in hopes to further its brand presence as well.

The ASEAN-Korea Free Trade Agreement which significantly reduces tariff rates for Korean made cars is likewise expected to promote more sales brought about by more attractive pricing will also play a key factor for Korean carmakers Hyundai and Kia. Chevrolet, which sources some of its vehicles from GM-Daewoo Korea is expected to benefit from the new FTA as well.

Two major motor shows are also to be expected this year with the 2016 Manila International Auto Show from April 7 to 10 and the 6th Philippine International Motor Show in September 14 to 18.

The Philippines along with Vietnam are the only ASEAN countries which enjoyed a sales growth for 2015.