New vehicle sales in the Philippines jumped by 40% to a near record high of 32,472 units in August, from 23,181 units in the same month of last year, according to a report released jointly by the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines (CAMPI) and the Truck Manufacturers Association (TMA).

The data did not include sales of some key non-affiliated brands, including Hyundai, Chevrolet and Subaru, which together typically account for around 15% of the total market.

The country's economy continued to grow strongly in recent months with low interest rates driving domestic consumption sharply higher. First half GDP growth is estimated at around 6.9% year on year, reflecting strong household and public expenditure and investment growth.

New vehicle sales in the first eight months of the year increased by close to 28% to 229,919 units from 179,839 units in the same period of last year. Passenger vehicle sales increased by almost 16% to 84,926 units in this period while commercial vehicle sales soared by 37% to 144,993 units.

Toyota led the market in the eight month period with sales of almost 100,000 units, based on market share data released by CAMPI. Mitsubishi Motors sold close to 40,400 units; Ford 22,346 units; Isuzu 17,360; and Honda 14,500 units.

Continued strong growth in monthly sales has prompted CAMPI to revise yet again its sales forecasts for this year, to 370,000 units - including non-affiliated brands, and to 500,000 units by 2020.

The association last month welcomed its latest affiliated member, Foton Motors Philippines, the local distributor of the Chinese truckmaker. The company sold 3,892 vehicles last year and has targeted 5,500 deliveries this year.

Rising traffic congestion in the country's major cities, particularly in Metro Manila, has prompted the Department of Transportation to consider increasing the registration tax on second and third cars and making access to private parking a prerequisite for car purchases.