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CAMPI sees potential sale of 500,000 automotive units this year

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By Revin Mikhael D. Ochave, Reporter

THE Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (CAMPI) sees a robust year for the automotive sector, projecting the possibility of selling 500,000 units, its president said.

CAMPI’s optimism is fueled by expectations of slower inflation and a more robust economic growth trajectory, Rommel R. Gutierrez, the group’s president, told reporters on Jan. 23.

“[Selling 500,000 units] is possible. We had 21.9% growth last year. It is near 500,000 units sold,” he said.

If realized, this would represent a 16.3% year-on-year increase from the 429,807 units sold in 2023.

The higher projection comes as Mr. Gutierrez said on Jan. 22 that CAMPI aims for a 10% to 15% increase in vehicle sales this year.

“The drivers would be the tempered inflation rate and the remittances from overseas Filipino workers (OFWs),” he said.

During its December meeting, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas maintained its benchmark rate at 6.5%.

The country’s inflation rate averaged 6% in 2023, higher than the 5.8% recorded in 2022, despite dropping to 3.9% in December.

Latest Philippine central bank data showed that cash remittances coursed through banks from January to November rose by 2.8% to $30.211 billion from $29.38 billion a year ago.

In 2023, CAMPI members sold 429,807 units, a 21.9% increase from the 352,596 units sold in 2022. 

Last year’s car sales also exceeded the group’s revised sales target of 423,000 units.

The industry’s sales were led by commercial vehicles, which rose by 20.2% to 320,543 units, while passenger car sales climbed by 27.2% to 109,264 units.

Commercial vehicle sales were driven by Asian utility vehicles (AUVs), which rose by 30.5%, and light commercial vehicles, which increased by 18.3%.

CAMPI attributed the stronger sales to “sustained consumer demand, easier access to credit, and improved supply conditions across all brands.”

“Last year was a very strong year for the industry, and we are very excited about 2024,” Mr. Gutierrez said.

“Positive economic outlook, new model introductions and the electrification trend are expected to contribute to a record-breaking sales this year,” he also said.

The country’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth accelerated to 5.9% in the third quarter from 4.3% in the second quarter. In the first nine months, economic growth averaged 5.5%, still below the government’s 6-7% full-year target.

The Philippine Statistics Authority is scheduled to announce fourth-quarter and full-year 2023 GDP figures on Jan. 31.

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