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Philippine auto sector outperforms in ASEAN market

Latest data from the ASEAN Automotive Federation showed vehicle sales and production in the Philippines posted the second fastest growth among automotive markets in the region behind Myanmar, a relatively smaller market. File

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine automotive industry is showing no signs of slowing down as it  continues to be among the top performing sales and production markets in Southeast Asia in the first three quarters.

Latest data from the ASEAN Automotive Federation showed vehicle sales and production in the Philippines posted the second fastest growth among automotive markets in the region behind Myanmar, a relatively smaller market.

Philippine automotive sales rose 15.9 percent in the nine months to September while local production jumped 30.1 percent during the same period, the same data showed.

In terms of vehicle sales, only the Philippines, Myanmar and Thailand recorded double-digit growth in the nine-month period, while others posted a low single-digit increase or a decline.

Overall, vehicle sales in the region reached 2.44 million units as of end-September, 5.6 percent higher than the 2.31 million units in the same period last year.

Meanwhile, the Philippines significantly jacked up vehicle production to 112,171 units from 86,244 units in the same period in 2016.

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In the region, only the Philippines, Indonesia and Myanmar posted year-on-year increases in vehicle production.

Overall, vehicle production in the region was flat from last year at 3.02 million units.

The government, through the Department of Trade and Industry, has taken steps to boost local production of vehicles in the country as part of its manufacturing resurgence program.

The P27-billion Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS) program, which was approved under the previous Aquino administration, seeks to encourage local car assembly through incentives and allow industry players to become more competitive.

A portion of the budget for the CARS program is now being allocated to support the local assembly of eco-friendly public utility vehicles.

The government initially seeks to modernize 200,000 public utility jeepneys  across the country as part of government efforts to provide a safer transport system for commuters, while mitigating the effects of climate change. 

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