Nine months. While for some, this number of months meant hitting the delivery room as quickly as possible, automotive brands in the Philippines have a different delivery in mind – delivering cars from the showroom and into a buyer’s garage.
More importantly, this means that car brands now only have three months to sell more cars, ergo, hitting their 2021 targets of vehicles sales.
While things are arguably getting better—socially and economically—we can’t deny that the majority of car distributors and importers saw a rise in sales numbers when compared to their numbers from last year, the height of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
As such, here’s a rundown of the 10 bestselling car brands in the Philippines during the first nine months of 2021. You may see the rundown of the changes below, including a tight battle for 3rd spot and the continuous rise of small commercial vehicles sales.
Eight of the top 10 bestselling automakers this year (so far) saw an increase in YTD sales figures (January to September 2021) when compared to their numbers from the same period last year.
Perennial no. 1 Toyota Motor Philippines saw a notable 45.5% spike in sales, unsurprisingly led by the Vios, Hilux, and Wigo, respectively—all three got substantial updates recently.
Meanwhile, Mitsubishi Motors Philippines held on to its likewise perennial no. 2 position with an incremental 2% increase in sales over the first 9 months year to year.
No. 3 contender Ford Philippines also registered a significant 57% improvement, while no. 9-ranked MG Philippines likewise recorded a big 49% growth, both compared to their sales figures over the same period last year. Ford continued to rake it in with its Territory and Ranger duo, representing the majority of its total sales so far.
MG Philippines, on the other hand, had the MG 5 sedan and ZS crossover on its frontline. Of note, MG just recently added the new ZST variant into the ZS range – a turbocharged version that comes with a redesigned body.
“We are happy that MG Philippines successfully weathered the challenges brought about by the global pandemic, and achieved accelerated growth in sales performance over the past two years. This is a testament to the collective efforts and support of our principals at SMIL, the trust and commitment of our dealer partners, and the grit and experience of the TCCCI stewards. With these, MG Philippines was able to effectively adopt new and more efficient sales processes, implement exciting product offers, and execute marketing strategies that resulted in the brand’s continued growth and exceptional sales performance thus far in 2021,” says Atty. Alberto B. Arcilla, President and CEO of MG Philippines.
Honda soldiered on at no. 7, posting a modest 7.7% increase year on year.
However, Sojitz G Auto Philippines (SGAP), the official distributor of new Top 10 player Geely in the country, recorded an outstanding sales growth during the first nine months of 2021. The Chinese car company sold 3,818 units, which was a whopping 222.2% increase compared to the 1,185 units sold from January to September last year. This allowed SGAP to clinch the 10th spot in the YTD sales chart, displacing Kia Philippines out of the list.
Geely’s bestseller remains to be its breakaway model, the Coolray. SGAP moved a total of 1,960 units of the subcompact crossover during the first three quarters of the year. The Okavango crossover MPV wasn’t too far behind, with 1,633 new owners recorded to date.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t all fun and games for each and every car brand this year. There was a couple of brands that declined in sales; most notable of which was Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc. (HARI), which saw a 30% decrease in sales compared to their numbers last year.
Will HARI be able to recover from this slump (which landed the former top 5 player in the no. 8 slot)? Take note that Hyundai announced the arrival of four new vehicles in its lineup during the first online MIAS in 2020; none of those four nameplates have reached our shores so far – at least not through HARI.
“We remain driven forward as we approach the finish line of yet another challenging year,” said HARI President and CEO Ma. Fe Perez-Agudo. “With news regarding the further decline of infections and the lowering of health-related restrictions in the country by the end of this month, we can look forward to providing our customers better journeys this holiday season,” she added.
Erstwhile no. 3 Nissan Philippines also saw a decline in YTD sales, recording a 15.1% drop compared to its performance in the same period last year. The question is: will Nissan be able to recover with three blockbuster launches this year?
Of note, the refreshed Terra SUV had just arrived at the beginning of September, while the Almera subcompact sedan got a full revamp at the beginning of October. Time will tell whether these two will turn things around for the Japanese carmaker.
Tight battle for 3rd
As I reported back in August, there has been a tight battle for the third spot of the Philippine car sales chart since the beginning of the year. Ford, Suzuki, and Nissan have been at each others’ necks, besting each other repeatedly by tantalizingly small margins.
At the end of August 2021, Suzuki Philippines surpassed Ford by just over 30 units for the coveted no. 3 ranking, which put the Japanese automaker within the Blue Oval’s striking distance.
As it turns out, Ford’s push allowed it to clinch the 3rd spot, ending September 2021 with a notable gap over Suzuki, moving 14,704 units as compared to Suzuki’s 14,445 units, moving the Japanese small car specialist to no. 4.
“The popularity of the Ford Ranger and the Ford Territory among Filipino customers continued to reflect in our overall vehicle sales, and with that, we are thankful to our dealers and customers for their trust in the Ford brand,” says Michael Breen, managing director, Ford Philippines.
Nissan lagged a bit after three quarters of the year, ending up at no. 5 with 13,235 units sold. As mentioned, however, Nissan has just introduced an update to its two popular models in its lineup recently, which means the Japanese automaker still has a fighting chance towards the end of the year.
The continuous rise of commercial vehicles
While passenger cars are the usual bestsellers in each of the automakers’ lineup, Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corporation (MMPC), Isuzu Philippines Corporation (IPC), and Suzuki Philippines begged to differ, at least during the first nine months of 2021.
MMPC has continued to sell the Mitsubishi L300 really well, moving 8,033 units within the given period and representing the top of its own sales charts. The Xpander MPV wasn’t too far behind with 7,692 units sold.
No. 6 ranked IPC, on the other hand, had the Traviz light duty commercial vehicle at the top of its sales charts with 3,166 units sold from January to September 2021. The D-Max was at a very close second with 3,164 units delivered, while the new mu-X SUV posted 781 units sold.
Lastly, the Suzuki Carry carried the torch for Suzuki PH. The Japanese brand delivered 2,752 units of the light commercial vehicle, representing 19% of its total vehicles sales. The Ertiga MPV wasn’t far behind with 2,655 units sold, while the 2,554 units of the S-Presso, the lowest-priced Japanese car on sale today, have been delivered to their owners since January 2021.
That said, it seems like Mitsubishi, Isuzu, and Suzuki were all at the top of Filipino vehicle buyers’ minds, whether they’re looking for workhorses for their small-to-medium enterprises or 7-seater MPVs for their families—or pickups, in the case of Isuzu.