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Weaker peso may fuel hike in car prices

MANILA, Philippines — Car manufacturers in the country are closely watching developments in the foreign exchange market for potential price adjustments in the coming months.

Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc. (CAMPI) vice president Dante Santos said the depreciation of the peso in recent months has been taking its toll on assemblers.

“It affects us, not only cars, but even spare parts,” Santos said.

“Car assemblers are already looking closely at forex developments because it’s not only peso against the dollar, but also the yen,” he said.

Santos, however, said there has been no decision to hike vehicle prices just yet.

“Every economic factor, we discuss that. Our decision is more of timing. Of course, nobody is really allowed to lose big money for so long,” he said.

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Toyota Motor Philippines Corp. vice chairman Alfred Ty earlier told The STAR Japanese carmakers in the country are reeling from the impact of the fluctuation in the foreign exchange, with their bottom line expected to take a hit this year despite higher sales volume.

Ty said not even the expected surge in sales volume this year as a result of advanced buying among consumers would be able to offset the losses due to foreign exchange.

Car prices are also expected to rise substantially starting next year with the implementation of higher excise tax on new vehicles as part of the government’s tax reform program.

CAMPI sales in the eight-month period ending August this year grew 16.7 percent to 268,424 units from 229,919 units in the same period last year.

In August alone, vehicle sales increased 8.7 percent to 35,309 units. This, however, was 4.4 percent lower than the 36,951 units sold in July.

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