Looming increase on excise tax keeps car buying sentiment high


A COMMANDING presence and exceptional performance have made the Toyota Land Cruiser a “status vehicle.”

With the possibility of excise taxes on commodities such as automobiles increasing next year—the House of Representatives just passed its version of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion or Train bill—it seems car buyers are now taking advantage of the few remaining months where they could still get their favorite rides at relatively lower prices.

Citing the combined reports of the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (Campi) and the Truck Manufacturers Association (TMA), the country’s automotive industry experienced brisk sales after selling a total of 196,164 units from January to June, 28,684 units more than what were sold on the same period last year.

Interestingly, this first semestral sales mark even eclipsed the total vehicles sold by Campi and TMA for the whole year of 2013 (181,283 units).

With another banner year in the offing, the industry players have set a rather conservative target of 430,000 to 450,000 units. Sales target was met last year—370,000 units—as Campi and TMA sold 359,572 units while members of the Association of Vehicle Importers and Distributors were able to sell 93,179 units.

Campi president Atty. Rommel Gutierrez, in an earlier statement, attributed the brisk sales to an intensified “dealer push” that brought higher sales specifically to the key models of their members as well as their members’ well-maintained inventory levels that helps in the prompt delivery of vehicles.

No big surprises on the list of the industry’s top five performers from January to June 2017:

1. Toyota Motor Philippines Corp.—42.73 percent
2. Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp.—19.11 percent
3. Isuzu Philippines Corp.—11.03 percent
4. Ford Motor Company Philippines—8.52 percent
5. Nissan Philippines—5.21 percent.

Market leader Toyota Motor Philippines sold a total of 85,161 units (add to what its luxury brand, Lexus, has sold, TMP was able to deliver 85,728 units).

This phenomenal first semester feat is hinged on the performance of TMP’s subcompact sedan, the Vios, that remained its strongest model (which, interestingly is also the country’s bestselling nameplate) with 19,265 units sold.

Another top performer is TMP’s SUV, the Fortuner, that dominated the commercial vehicle segment with 17,308 units sold.

Another industry leader, Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp., also posted phenomenal growth with 34,549 total units sold during the first semester.

MMPC’s Montero Sport SUV sold 8,101 while its van, the L300 posted 6,894 units.
Another big seller for MMPC is its subcompact sedan, the Mirage G4.

Impending shift
With the country’s impending shift to Euro 4 standard by next year plus the fact that car buyers can no longer register their newly bought Euro 2 vehicle models after Dec. 31, 2017, the market seems to take advantage of buying another of MMPC’s top performers, the Adventure (6,558 units of this Asian utility vehicle were already sold during the first semester).

Isuzu Philippines citing the Filipinos’ improving purchasing power, was glad to announce that the company also enjoyed a fruitful first semester after posting a total of 14,225 units, a 7.3 percent improvement from the same period last year (13,258 units).

IPC’s flagship model, the mu-X SUV remained its bestselling model with 6,453 units sold from January to June 2017 (compared to 6,297 units sold in the same period in 2016), a 2.5-percent surge.

IPC’s D-Max pickup, on the other hand, remained strong with 2,292 units sold—a 20.8 percent boost from the 1,897 units sold last year (the D-Max currently holds an impressive 12.6 percent share of the market).

With the same situation as MMPC’s Adventure, IPC is also bidding farewell to one of the country’s longest-running nameplate this year, the 16-year old Crosswind AUV.
Nevertheless, the market seems to be taking advantage of the few remaining months as the company was able to sell 2,309 units of the Crosswind.

Another Japanese player is reporting a first semestral achievement: Nissan Philippines set a sales record of 10,651 units sold from January to June 2017.

The company attributed its sales surge to its March and June sales that reached 2,094 units and 2,101 units, respectively.

A favorite among operators of utility express services, Nissan Philippines’ Urvan remained its strongest nameplate with 3,258 units sold during the first six months.
Interestingly, this figure closely matches the achievement of another Nissan favorite, the Navara pickup that posted 3,256 units.

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