MANILA – Sales of imported vehicles recorded a 40.7-percent drop in 2020, selling 51,719 units from 87,169 units sold in 2019.
The Association of Vehicle Importers and Distributors (AVID) attributed the decline to the lockdowns, limited economic activity, and weak consumer demand amid the pandemic.
“Automotive was among the hard-hit sectors in this pandemic and we continue to feel the impact as sales, after-sales and auto-related services remain lackluster,” AVID president Ma. Fe Perez-Agudo said in a statement Thursday.
All segments recorded decrements in sales volume last year.
Sales of passenger cars declined by 46 percent to 16,588 units last year from 30,484 units in 2019.
Light commercial vehicle sales, which comprised the bulk of 2020 sales, also fell by 37.6 percent to 34,826 units from 2019’s volume of 55,778 units.
Commercial vehicle sales plunged by 66 percent to 305 units in the previous year from 907 units in 2019.
On the other hand, AVID saw some signs of recovery in the last month of 2020 as imported vehicle sales increased by 15 percent month-on-month.
December 2020 sales increased to 5,683 units from 4,953 units in November of the same year.
Passenger car sales went up by 7 percent to 1,590 units in December from 1,484 units sold the previous month.
Light commercial vehicle sales grew double-digit at 18 percent with sales reaching 4,071 units in December 2020, higher than November’s sales of 3,447 units.
Commercial vehicles sold 22 units in the last month of 2020, the same volume sold in November 2020.
“Despite the hurdles, the industry quickly adapted to the new normal, survived, and is finally seeing some signs of revival. However, we see more headwinds in the coming months,” Perez-Agudo said, on the new safeguard measure on imported vehicles imposed by the government.
Last Jan. 4, the Department of Trade Industry (DTI) announced that it would impose safeguard duties of PHP70,000 on imported passenger cars and PHP110,000 on imported light commercial vehicles.
This as the DTI found that there was an influx of imported vehicles in the country that caused serious injury to the local industry.
The safeguard duties will take effect on Jan. 20, 2021 for 200 days.
“While the worst may be behind us, we still have a long way to go. If we are to restore consumer confidence and revive this sector, we should focus on creating more job opportunities, upgrade infrastructure and logistics, and improve the ease and cost of doing business. We are all for the long-term development of the auto industry in the new normal,” Perez-Agudo added. (PNA)