The Philippines car market is expected to exceed the 100,000 unit mark this year.

According to Dow Jones, domestic sales are being lifted by the introduction of new models, a stronger peso and strong demand during an election year.

Sales narrowly missed reaching the 100,000 mark last year when they hit 99,541 units, according to the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc. (CAMPI).

"This year, the industry expects to finally breach the 100,000 sales mark seen to be the benchmark hurdle that finally propels the industry towards higher, stronger, and sustained growth in the mid-term," CAMPI President Elizabeth Lee told Dow Jones. CAMPI is forecasting a total market of 103,000 units for this year, although there is an upside risk to this if the peso continues to gain strength, making imported car components cheaper.

Lee said she is hoping that government will properly implement a Supreme Court ruling prohibiting imports of used cars, an improvement in fiscal incentives, and the proper implementation of a new law requiring the use of biofuels. This should help increase sales.

The Biofuels Law, approved in January, requires that diesel sold in the Philippines be blended with at least 1% biodiesel, while gasoline must have a 5% bioethanol content within two years.

CAMPI noted that nearly half of all new vehicle registrations with the Land Transportation Office in 2005 and 2006 were for used vehicles.  In 2006, newly-registered vehicles totaled 174,108 units, while CAMPI recorded new-car sales at 99,541. The numbers were an improvement from the total 175,671 new registrations in 2005, when CAMPI said new-car sales totaled 97,067.