New vehicle sales in the Philippines increased by 20% to 13,775 units in March, compared with 11,472 units in the same month of 2010, according to the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc (CAMPI).

This data excludes some key brands, including Hyundai Motor, which left the association at the end of 2010.  Hyundai separately reported 1,536 sales in March and 4,572 sales in the first quarter.

The continued positive trend reflects the country’s ongoing strong economic growth, driven by high consumer and business confidence.

Supply disruptions in Japan in March did cause some delivery delays, according to association president Elizabeth Lee, but high inventories had limited their effect on the local market.

First quarter sales increased by 8.2% to 36,293 units, compared with 33,536 units a year earlier. Passenger car sales increased by 11.3% to 12,426 units, while commercial vehicle sales were up by 6.7% at 23,867 units.

The association reported that sales of light trucks fell by 11.6% in March due to delivery delays, but noted that volumes were up by over 50% in the first quarter at 477 units. Sales of medium and heavy trucks and buses increased by over 75% to 335 units, despite a 29% decline in March.