You would think that with the new automotive excise tax, car sales would go down, but things are quite the opposite. Philippine car sales rose by 15.9% for the first three quarters last year, an improvement year-on-year from 2016 of the same period. Leading the charge are Toyota Motor Corp and Mitsubishi Motors Corp, and together these two Japanese companies account for 60% of the units sold in the country for 2017.
The data comes from the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, and analysts attribute the growth to the increased sales of major assemblers and distributors. The new excise tax is effective in 2018 and will increase the price of cars significantly, and it's thought that this prompted many people to buy in 2017 before the big jump in price. Some car company officials say they adjusted their forecasts due to the anticipation of the increase in price in 2018.
The results were heavily in favor of Toyota, which moved 166,601 units from January to November. That's 43% of all car sales during that period. Mitsubishi on the other hand came in with just 66,704 units in the same period, a distant second at 17.55%. Ford was third with 31,994 units sold, or 8.42% of the market. Honda was next with 26,277 units (7.05%) and Isuzu at 14,256 units (6.91%). The data for December isn't included in these totals, but they're expected to rise with the momentum from November moving into the holiday season. That data is a total of 380,179 units sold for the first eleven months of 2017. The data shows that the Philippine market is still heavily dominated by Japanese companies. Ford was the only North American manufacturer near the top, and was the only non-Japanese company in the top 5. Japanese cars are still seen as more reliable and of good quality in the Philippines, and this reflects in the sales figures.
Moving into 2018, though, it's unclear whether the automotive industry can maintain this kind of growth. It remains to be seen if the excise tax will curb demand, something that the government is counting on to disincentivize the owning of cars, a bid to help alleviate the traffic situation in Metro Manila.
- Images from toyota-global.com