Philippine auto industry drops 40.26% in 2020 due to economic downturn

The global pandemic has sent the Philippine auto industry into a tailspin in 2020 as auto sales amounted to 248,171 units. This is based on consolidated reports from the three major automotive associations: CAMPI, TMA, and AVID.

The 2020 annual total was down 167,718 units from the previous year's 416,628 units, a 40.26% decline from what was seen as a recovery year for the industry post TRAIN law. Last year's figure was at its lowest since the Philippine auto industry began its sales surge in 2014.

2020 Philippine auto sales down 40% to 248,171 units image

Commercial vehicles (which include SUVs, MPVs, pick-ups, crossovers, trucks, and buses) remain the driving force of the industry with a 68.15% share of the market, registering 169,134 units; passenger car sales totaled 79,037 units to take the remaining 31.15%.

Initially projected as a year of continued recovery, 2020 became a challenging year as the country felt the full effects of the global pandemic having shut down for two months due to government restrictions.

Compared with our regional neighbors, the Philippines, along with Indonesia and Singapore were the worst performers with declines of 40% and more in 2020. Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam likewise saw negative movement in their 2020 auto sales charts.

“It is noteworthy that the holiday season has contributed to the uptick in demand for auto sales in December amid the improving business and consumer confidence,” said Atty. Rommel Gutierrez, CAMPI president.

2020 Vehicle Sales image

Top 5 Brands

Toyota remains ahead with a commanding lead of the market with a 40.11% market share with 99,545 units sold. Toyota sales slid 38.32% from the previous year's 161,395 units. 

Mitsubishi Motors remains second with 37,366 units with a 15.06% market share. MMPC logged a 41.67% decline compared to last year's 64,065 units sold. 2020 was Mitsubishi’s third consecutive year of decline.

Nissan remained third, getting an 8.76% share of the market selling 21,751 units, 49.05% less than the previous year’s 42,694 units.

Hyundai remained fourth with 16,651 units sold with a 6.71% market share with a 50.68% decline year-on-year against a 33,762 unit total.

Suzuki stays fifth with 15,515 units sold, representing 6.25% of the market. Suzuki registered a 35.13% decline against 23,919 units sold in 2019.

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Ford ended 2020 in sixth overall, with a total of 14,775 units with a 5.95% market share. The American automaker’s sales declined by 32.53% compared to the previous year's 21,900 figure.

Honda stayed seventh with 11,711 units sold for 4.72% of the market, it declined 42.42% against 2019’s 20,338 unit total.

Isuzu stays in eighth with a 19.55% dip in sales; the company sold only 11,240 units against 13,971 units during the previous year. Strong demand for its business-oriented vehicles have dampened the impact resulting in a 19.55% decline, Isuzu captured 4.53% of the market.

MG reported sales of 3,432 units in 2020 to keep the 9th overall spot, on its second full year in the market. Their sales slid 32.51% compared to 2019's 5,085 total.

Foton finds itself in the Top 10 with 2,456 units sold, 0.99% of the market; their sales are down 42.79% compared to the previous year's 4,293 total.

2020 Philippine auto sales down 40% to 248,171 units image

“Automotive was among the hard-hit sectors in this pandemic and we continue to feel the impact as sales, after-sales and auto-related services remain lackluster. Despite the hurdles, the industry quickly adapted to the new normal, survived, and are finally seeing some signs of revival. However, we see more headwinds in the coming months,”  said Ms. Ma. Fe Perez-Agudo, AVID president.

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Top 3 Premium Brands

BMW remained on top of the premium segment, sales totaled 611 units, down 33.59% with a 0.25% share of the total market.

Mercedes-Benz followed in second with 579 passenger vehicles sold against 2019’s 885 units, which represents a 34.58% decline.

Lexus appeared the most resilient among the Top 3 with 474 units, a 23.05% downtrend. Sales were driven by 169 units of the new LM 350 which was responsible for over a third of their 2020 sales volume.

2020 Philippine Auto Sales 250,018 units image

Top 5 Truck Brands

Isuzu remained the top seller with 3,707 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, Cat IV, and Cat V segments.

Hino stays in second with a 2,214 cumulative total, slowing down by 39.59%. Foton remained in third with 1,248, sliding 42.79%. Fuso comes in fourth with 828 units sold, a 47.69% drop from the previous year. Hyundai rounded up the Top 5 with 305 units sold.


Key Movers in 2020

Having performed a "full-year" despite a two-month lockdown, Geely managed to sell 2,158 units in 2020.

Mahindra saw an 82.58% growth due to the delivery of their modern PUV offerings to transport cooperative customers.

Jaguar-Land Rover saw a 3.57% growth, moving 174 units out of their showroom to customer garages.

Chevrolet continues its decline as it only sold 503 units, an 84.16% drop as GM decided to shut down its Southeast Asian assembly operations with distributor TCCCI left reorganizing its vehicle lineup.

BAIC was by far the worst performer with a 90.99% drop from 344 units to just 31 units, making us wonder if they will still be in business.

The industry remains optimistic for 2021 as the local introduction of a vaccine is expected this year. Increased economic activity is also expected with the completion of infrastructure projects, expected government stimulus packages to help boost the economy, and an upcoming election year. However, hurdles such as the safeguard bond recently imposed by the Department of Trade and Industry are expected to dampen sales.