The auto industry continues to grow with an increase of 10.3% for the 1st quarter compared to the same period last year. The growth is still a double digit growth with continued significant growth for the month of March where auto sales reported a total of 10,624 units sales or 12.2% increase compared to February. Total industry sales so far is 28,904 units for Jan-Mar 2008.
There is still a relatively strong demand for vehicles as consumers continue to buy cars albeit with much more discretion as higher food and fuel prices come into play in the purchase decision. Hence, the continued preference for vehicles that double as personal and business use reflect the importance of value for money. Buyers are also smarter nowadays, choosing to purchase brand new cars that yield a longer lifespan, making their investments last. Passenger car sales grew by 7.6% in March compared to the same period last year while Commercial Vehicles grew by 11.8% for the same period as well. CV sales continue to dominate the market while PC sales registered a stronger growth of almost 20% for the month of March alone although YTD sales are at 7.6% growth. The industry still foresees a growth for the year. Sustained economic growth is also key to the industry's growth as it is positively correlated to auto industry growth. OFW remittances will continue to help boost private consumption against the backdrop of government efforts to soften the blow of an appreciated peso on OFW earnings. Sales are also expected to be sustained with upcoming major events which will boost sales in the 2nd half of the year with the upcoming 2nd Philippine International Motorshow.
PC sales increased by 7.6% for the month of March compared to the same period last year. The robust growth for the PC is seen to continue in the coming months. Promotional activities of the dealers and the sales of newly introduced models are seeing more positive results translated to sales in the first quarter of the year as it increased by 19.9% compared to February of this year.
With CVs continuing to dominate the market with a 66% market share, CV sales continue to be strong with a double-digit growth of 11.8% compared to 2007 sales, a good start for the dominant category in the market. Stock availability and continous promos contributed to the March sales of 6,880 units or 8.4% growth compared to February. We forecast sales to continue to be strong in the coming months.
MTD March AUV posted an increase of 4% from February 2008. YTD sales registered a 2.1% growth in sales. Although growth has slowed a bit for the segment, the volume of sales is fairly significant with 1st QTR sales of 7,508 total units. Growth is seen to continue in the coming months.
Sales in the LCV segment, comprised of pickups, vans, compact & full-size SUVs., showed an overall growth of 20.9% compared to the same period last year sustained by the sales of new models. This segment conitinues to be the strongest in terms of sales growth, validating the market's need for utility vehicles, a significant part of which are vans and pick ups. New models introduced in the segment that include compact SUVs continue to boost sales and buyer interest in the segment. FOr the month of March, sales grew by 11% compared to Feb. Total sales for the 1st Qtr is 10,923 units. Strong growth is seen to continue in the coming months.
Light Trucks sales decreased by 9.0% compared to the same period last year. However, compared to February 2008, sales of Light Trucks in March increased by 13.7% due to fleet account deliveries.
Cat IV & V sales for March 2008 increased by 19.7% compared to the month of February 2008 due to fleet account deliveries.YTD sales, however, increased by 2.7%.