Auto makers eye higher sales this year

Posted at 04/12/12 5:05 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Vehicle manufacturers may raise their sales target this year as the auto supply chain started to return to normal, resulting in the industry's strong performance the previous month.

The auto industry is targeting to sell 154,000 units in 2012, down from last year's sales of 155,000.

"We will revisit the projection... By May, we shall have a new projection," said Rommel Gutierrez, president of the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc. (CAMPI).

Auto sales rose 27.6% to 13,631 units in March from 10,681 units the previous month, although they were lower than the 13,750 units sold in March last year.

Total sales for the first quarter also declined year-on-year.

In a report, CAMPI said sales in the first quarter were still down 9.9% at 32,608 units, compared to 36,184 in the same quarter last year.

Sales have been negative since last year after two disastrous events -- the Japan earthquake and the widespread flooding in Thailand -- disrupted supply of auto parts.

But Gutierrez said the industry is confident there will be growth in 2012.

Sales of passenger cars in the first quarter fell 22% from 2011 to 9,649 units, but sales in March alone were up 13% to 4,341 units.

Commercial vehicle sales also fell 3.6% to 22,968 units in the first quarter and rose 22.3% to 9,290 units in March.

Toyota Motor Philipines Corp. led all assemblers in the first quarter with sales of 12,645 units, followed by Mitsubishi Motor Philippines, with 8,230 units.