The Philippine automotive industry defied threats of automotive slump due to global financial crisis as it registered a 6.4% growth in 2009. Total vehicle sales reached 132,444 units in 2009, exceeding the flat growth forecast for 2009 by the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (CAMPI) and Truck Manufacturers Association (TMA) or 125,000 units. In 2008, total vehicles sold were 124,449 units.
CAMPI and TMA credits this growth to the aggressiveness of automotive players in introducing new models and various promotion schemes as well as by banks/financial institutions to accept auto financing from loans especially from entry level buyers such as small to medium scale entrepreneurs and also Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). In addition, the strong typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng last October which brought heavy floods in Metro Manila and Luzon areas caused irreparable damaged to most vehicles, have partially contributed to the increase as it accelerated vehicle replacements especially in the last quarter.
Meantime, Mitsubishi Motors Philippines (MMPC) closed 2009 with sales of 23,247 units, accounting for an impressive 32.5% growth compared to its 2008 sales of 17,539 units. With this sales performance, MMPC also managed to improve its market share from 14% in 2008 to 17.6% in 2009, to maintain its strong No.2 position in the industry.
MMPC also registered growth in all segments for the first quarter. Lancer and Galant sales totaled to 1,562 units for a slight 1% growth in the passenger car segment.
In the light commercial vehicle segment, total growth registered was 36% as MMPC sold a total of 20,959 light commercial vehicles versus 15,382 units sold in 2008. MMPC credits this performance to the strong sales of its new Montero Sport, Adventure, Strada pick ups and L300 models. Both Adventure and L300 models continue to attract private and government fleet, as well as small to medium scale entrepreneurs, and OFWs and their dependents. The Adventure and L300 continue to be significant due to their very low cost operation and maintenance and reliable performance of its now Euro-2 compliant 4D56 engine.
Meantime the warm market acceptance for the Montero Sport and Strada pick up were further validated by the various awards received last year. For the Montero Sport, it was voted as the best mid-size SUV and best value for money by motoring media in the Auto Focus People’s Choice Award and also the best mid-size 4×2 SUV in the 2009 Car Awards Group Inc. Likewise, the Strada was also voted as the best pick up in the Auto Focus People’s Choice Award.
In the truck and bus segment, MMPC sold a total of 726 units which has increased by 20% compared to 2008 due to improved fleet sales business.
Aside from its notable sales performance, MMPC also led the industry in customer satisfaction by topping both J.D. Power Asia Pacific 2009 Philippine Sales Satisfaction Index Study and Customer Service Index Study. In December 2009, MMPC also achieved its 500,000th cumulative production milestone, being the first automotive manufacturer in the country to achieve this feat, as it rolled off its first locally assembled Lancer EX in its manufacturing plant situated in Cainta, Rizal. MMPC is confident in further increasing sales of its Lancer EX given the sustained availability from its local production at the same time repositioning the price at very competitive levels. The Lancer EX was initially introduced by MMPC in 2008 as a completely built up unit from Japan and received commendations from several local motoring media including the Car Awards group which proclaimed it as the best Compact Sedan for 2009.
For 2010, MMPC remains to be very optimistic as it aims to further increase sales volume and market share. “Our objective for this year is to sell 28,000 or a 20% growth from our 2009 performance”, Froilan Dytianquin, Assistant Vice President for Marketing Services remarked. “Our positive growth projections will be supported by our refreshed vehicle line up such as the 2010 models of the Lancer EX, Montero Sport, Strada and Adventure. There will be also new exciting additions this year such as the Lancer EX Ralliart, a new compact cross over plus new variants of our core models. Apart from realizing this sales target, MMPC will also continue to improve further its after sales to ensure the total satisfaction of our customers”, Dytianquin added.