Toyota sees auto sales slowing down this year
2/8/2006 3:00:08 AM
Elaine Ruzul S. Ramos
Toyota Motor Philippines Corp. expects sales growth to slow down this year on lack of consumer confidence in the market brought about by the political noise, higher value added tax (VAT) and the continued influx of used car imports.
TMPC marketing manager and first vice president Daniel Isla said this year's full-year sales is projected to inch up 5 percent from a 30 percent year-on-year growth in 2005.
He said Toyota sales this year are likely to hit 38,000 units from 35,000 units in 2005.
Isla said consumers were likely to hold off purchases of big-ticket items like vehicles given the unstable political situation.
Perceptions that the prices of vehicles will also go up with the increase in the VAT from 10 percent to 12 percent are also seen weighing down sales even as industry simulations showed the impact of the higher sales tax on the prices of vehicles would be minimal at 2 percent.
The escalating cost of fuel and the entry of cheaper second-hand imported vehicles will also keep auto buyers at bay.
The Japanese car maker is the biggest in the local industry, holding on to the top spot in terms of unit sales for several years now.
Sustained marketing and promotional gimmicks have helped prop up the sales of new cars in the country over the past few months.
Isla said the growth in this year's sales would be driven by its lineup.
Innova, one of the car maker's models under the international innovative multipurpose vehicle (IMV) line, will continue to be the driving force behind Toyota's sales growth this year.
He said Innova has been averaging sales of 1,000 units a month.
Vios, the company's sub-compact passenger car, is averaging 800 units while Altis is selling 350 units a month.
Fortuner, another model in the IMV line, is selling 500 units while 70 units of the luxury passenger car Camry are being sold each month.
Isla also said the company would launch the Avanza 1.3-liter minivan in the last quarter of 2006 for the taxi and fleet accounts and first-time buyers.
Toyota Avanza comes with high-power, high-performance and highly fuel-efficient engine and a suspension system that offers a comfortable ride and stable handling. It can accommodate five to seven passengers.
The Avanza, which will be imported from Thailand as completely built unit, will have three varieties, one with manual transmission and the rest in automatic mode.
The Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers and Assemblers of the Philippines Inc. earlier projected full-year sales to grow by 5 percent this year.