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Auto loans up 23% to P111.4 B in 9 months

MANILA, Philippines - Auto loans extended by universal, commercial, and thrift banks jumped 23 percent in the first nine months of 2010 as sales of motor vehicles zoomed to a new all-time high last year, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported yesterday.

The BSP reported that auto loans extended by banks amounted to P111.4 billion from January to September last year or P20.8 billion higher compared to the P90.6 billion disbursed in the same period in 2009.

Thrift banks accounted for 51.4 percent or P57.3 billion of the total auto loans while universal and commercial banks cornered 48.2 percent or P53.7 billion. Non-bank financial institutions accounted for P400 million.

Statistics revealed that the share of auto loans from the banking industry’s total loan portfolio increased to four percent last year from 3.6 percent in 2009.

Vehicle sales went up by 27.2 percent to 168,490 units last year from 132,444 units in 2009. This eclipsed the previous record level of 162,095 units sold in 1996.

Full-year sales, however, were slightly behind the target of between 170,000 units and 175,000 units set by the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc. (CAMPI).

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“It’s about time the industry surpassed that benchmark. 2010 was an auspicious year for the auto industry, showing strong growth backed by major accomplishments that will help the industry as a whole move forward,” Campi president Elizabeth Lee said.

Sales of commercial vehicles grew 27.4 percent and accounted for 65.2 percent of the total vehicle sales while sales of passenger cars went up by 27 percent and cornered the remaining 34.8 percent.

Toyota Motor Philippines Corp. led the pack with total sales last year of 56,855 units followed by Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp. with 32,422 units and Hyundai Asia Resources Inc. placed third with sales of 18,696 units.

For 2011, Campi set a moderate growth target of between four percent and five percent to 177,000 units.

“Last year’s trend did not follow the general seasonality due to the elections and the post-Ondoy effect on car sales. The sales forecast will be adjusted accordingly on a per quarter basis,” she said, in reference to car purchases brought about by owners who replaced units damaged by the floods unleashed by Typhoon Ondoy.

“2011 is likewise seen to be a positive year as overall economic environment continues to be relatively favorable with sustained business and consumer confidence, gross domestic product growth, stable foreign exchange, positive forecast for overseas Filipino workers’ remittances, manageable inflation rate forecast, continued healthy financing environment, as well as new model introductions by auto players this year,” Lee said.

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