The Philippine new vehicle market continued to grow in December 2023, by 5% to 39,153 from 37,259 units a year earlier, according to member wholesale data released jointly by the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc (CAMPI) and the Truck Manufacturers Association (TMA).
Sales growth slowed significantly in the last few months from buoyant volume a year earlier with the market having rebounded strongly over the last two years from the pandemic lows.
Economic growth accelerated in the third quarter, to 5.9% after slowing sharply in the second quarter, driven by a rebound in government spending and fixed investment. This offset slower household spending growth, as the central bank continued to raise its benchmark interest rate to 6.5% from just 2% in mid-2022.
Vehicle sales last year increased 22% to 429,807 units compared with 352,596 in 2022, with passenger car sales surging 27% to 109,264 units while commercial vehicle sales increased 20% to 320,543 units driven mainly by strong demand for pickup trucks.
Toyota underperformed the overall market last year with sales rising by just 15% to 174,106 units while Mitsubishi sales surged 47% to 78,371 units on strong demand for its Xpander and Mirage models.
Ford sales increased 27% to 32,320 units, driven by strong demand for its new Ranger pickup truck, followed by Nissan with 27,136 units (+28%) and Suzuki 18,454 units (-7%).
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The government has offered incentives to help establish a local EV industry, targeting passenger and commercial vehicles and also two-wheelers. The latest package announced in the fourth quarter of last year, called the Electric Vehicle Incentive Strategy (ELVIS), specifically targeted the public utility vehicle (PUV) and public bus segments by offering buyers full exemption from excise taxes, purchase incentives of up to PHPO500,000 and discounts of up to 30% on the annual road tax.
GAC Group was the latest Chinese automaker to target the Philippine market with the announcement earlier this month that it planned to add six new MPV models to its line this year, including the M8 and M6 Pro.
BYD, currently the world’s largest EV manufacturer, launched the Atto 3 in November.