Industry > Sales

All the numbers: Philippine car sales figures in 2020

The industry sold just 245,000 units, 40% fewer vehicles versus 2019

Considering the circumstances, the industry sold its cars well. IMAGE FROM PIXABAY

You don’t need overfed motoring journalists to tell you that automotive sales dipped significantly in 2020. That’s to be expected in a calendar year whose prominent buzzword could (and should) be spelled in bold capital letters: PANDEMIC. Car-buying in the time of COVID-19 predictably takes a back seat to life’s more important priorities. Combine that with banks being overly cautious and you have sales figures nosediving faster than Sebastian Vettel’s racing career.

When all was said and done—the year, not the health crisis—Philippine car sales plummeted from 410,000 units in 2019 to 245,000 units in 2020. That was an astounding 40% decline.

Now, some clarification is in order. Some of you may have seen articles proclaiming higher numbers when discussing the subject. Take this one, for example:

Our car industry did not sell 275,000 units in 2020. SCREENSHOT FROM BUSINESSWORLD

We know of more than one piece to be riddled with bloated digits, and that’s because the writers (and, frankly, the editors) committed the most common error in reporting car sales in our territory. You see, there are two organizations that collate and share these numbers: the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines and the Association of Vehicle Importers and Distributors. Here lies the problem: Several car brands submit their sales to both groups (like Suzuki, Ford and Mercedes-Benz), and many reporters unwittingly calculate the numbers twice—ending up with incorrect statistics that would make Donald Trump look like the most accurate source of information in the Age of Google.

Anyway, below are two tables showing the major car brands that do business in the country, arranged in terms of market share and variance. As you can see, most companies suffered lower sales last year, with the notable exception of a handful of automakers (especially Geely, which, it should be noted, only had one quarter of selling cars in 2019).

2020 car sales and market shares

2020 car sales and variances

Vernon B. Sarne

Vernon is the founder and editor-in-chief of VISOR. He has been an automotive journalist since July 1995. He became one by serendipity, walking into the office of a small publishing company and applying for a position he had no idea was for a local car magazine. God has watched over him throughout his humble journey. He writes the ‘Spoiler’ column.