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New vehicle sales in Philippines surge in March 2019
New vehicle sales in the Philippines stood at 32,173 units during March, up by 14.0% year on year (y/y), reports Philippine Star, citing data released by the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Incorporated (CAMPI) and the Truck Manufacturers Association (TMA). Of this total, sales of passenger vehicles fell by 15.7% y/y to 9,214 units, while commercial vehicle (CV) sales surged 32.8% y/y to 22,959 units. During the first quarter of 2019, total vehicle sales in the country were down 0.8% y/y to 85,388 units. This is split between passenger vehicle sales of 26,172 units (down 9.5% y/y) and CV sales of 59,216 units (up 3.7% y/y). "The double-digit growth during the month of March compared to the same month last year is a strong indication that the automotive industry is well on its way to recovery. We are optimistic that this trend will be sustained in the coming months," said CAMPI president Rommel Gutierrez.
Significance: The Philippines new vehicle market has remained in positive territory for the past two months. The strong growth in March was mainly due to a low base of comparison . Last year, vehicle sales in the country were affected due to higher petroleum prices, which have raised the total cost of owning a vehicle; and the indirect impact of higher interest rates and inflation, which have affected buyer preferences and priorities. In 2018, the Philippine government increased excise tax for vehicles priced below PHP600,000 (USD11,584) to 4%, up from 2% in 2017. Excise tax on vehicles priced between PHP600,000 and PHP1.1 million has been set at 10%; vehicles priced at more than PHP1.1 million and less than PHP4 million are now taxed at 20%; and vehicles priced at more than PHP4 million are subject to a 50% levy. In 2019, the industry hopes to recover with a 10.0% y/y increase in sales. IHS Markit expects light-vehicle sales in the country, including passenger vehicles and light commercial vehicles, to grow by 9.0% y/y to 422,815 units in 2019, mainly thanks to new model launches and a low base of comparison.
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