New vehicle sales in the Philippines continued to plunge in June 2020, by over 51% to 15,578 units from 31,950 in the same month of last year, according to member wholesale data released jointly by the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc (CAMPI) and the Truck Manufacturers Association (TMA).

Demand for all types of vehicles fell sharply last month with passenger vehicle sales sliding by close to 51% to 4,711 units while commercial vehicle sales were down by almost 52% at 10,867 units.

Ongoing social lockdowns in key parts of the country, including Metro Manila, due to high COVID-19 infection rates, continued to hold back economic activity in the country.

The Philippine economy shrank unexpectedly by 0.2% year on year in the first quarter of 2020 after growing by 6.7% in the fourth quarter of 2019 and a much sharper decline was expected for the second quarter.

At the end of June the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said it expected Philippine GDP to shrink by 3.6% in 2020.

Compared with May, which was expected to be the low point in the current crisis, vehicle sales in June 2020 rebounded by 225%.

CAMPI president Rommel Gutierrez was encouraged by the month on month improvement, saying “this positive growth shows early signs that consumer demand for new cars is starting to improve, albeit slowly”. 

The association expects total vehicle sales, including imports, to decline by “at least” 20% in 2020 from 410,000 units last year.

Total vehicle sales in the first six months of 2020 also fell by 51% to 85,041 units from 174,135 in the same period last year, according to the associations’ data.

Passenger vehicle sales were down by 54% at 23,912 from 52,418 while commercial vehicle sales fell by 50% to 61,129 from 121,717.

Separately, the Philippine Association of Vehicle Importers and Distributors (AVID) said its members delivered 3,697 vehicles to dealers in June and 19,455 in the first half of the year, down by almost 55% on the 43,082 sold in the same period of last year.