April auto sales down on parts shortage after Japan quake

Posted at 05/09/2011 1:13 PM | Updated as of 05/10/2011 2:00 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Vehicle sales fell in April as Japan's twin disasters disrupted supply chains for auto production, but growth during the first 4 months was still in line with target, said the local industry association.

In a statement, the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc. (CAMPI) reported that sales in April contracted by 14.2% from the previous month, and 4.5% from the high-volume and election year 2010.

"The decline is due to unavailability of stocks for some models," said CAMPI.

Car assemblers here in the Philippines, including Toyota, Honda and Ford, scaled down operations at their plants due to a parts shortage resulting from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami disasters in Japan.

CAMPI President Elizabeth Lee said that although key parts suppliers already resumed operations, they have yet to operate at normal levels.

"Hence, demand will continue to outpace supply temporarily," noted Lee.

4-month sales up

Despite the decline in April auto sales, the industry managed to grow 4.7% in the first 4 months, still within the full-year sales growth forecast of 4% to 5%.

The industry sold a total of 48,109 units during the period or an average of 12,027 units per month.

"Currently, we are still within the forecast range. However, this may be revised accordingly as we move forward in the coming months with greater visibility on the extent of the damage (in Japan) and its lingering effect on local operations," said Lee.

Lee added that auto players serve demand based on inventories on hand.

"We continue to be cautiously optimistic. The scale and magnitude of the tragedy that rocked Japan was a shock to all. We continue to monitor the situation as we work with our principals on temporary solutions to help mitigate the impact and shorten the gap so operations can scale up to normal levels at the soonest time possible."

CV sales highest

Passenger car sales grew 8.9% in the January to April with 16,294 units sold nationwide, while commercial vehicle (CV) sales grew 2.8% to 31,815 units.

CVs continued to dominate overall sales with a 66% share.

Light commercial vehicle sales grew 3.4%, while the Asian Utility Vehicle segment declined slightly by 1% year-to-date.