New vehicle sales in the Philippines increased by 16.2% to 31,451 units in September, from 27,069 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).

While monthly sales volumes remained at near record highs, the annual growth rate has slowed – reflecting increasingly tough year-earlier comparisons.

The CAMPI/TMA 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 continues to grow strongly with low interest rates and rising investment driving domestic consumption sharply higher. Third quarter annual GDP growth is expected to come in at around 6.5%, after rising 7% in the first half.

New vehicle sales increased 26.7% to 261,370 units in first nine months of the year, from 206,284 units last year. Passenger vehicle sales grew by 18.2% to 97,036 units while commercial vehicle sales were up by 32% at 164,334 units.

Toyota led the market in the nine-month period with around 114,400 sales, according to local reports based on market share data released by CAMPI. Mitsubishi Motors sold close to 45,300 units; Ford 25,000 units; Isuzu 19,500; and Honda 17,000 units.

CAMPI now expects total vehicle sales, including those of non-affiliated brands, to reach 370,000 units this year and to exceed 500,000 units by 2020.