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lifan cars in phillipines is denting toyota sales

its a start

Chinese, Korean cars make a dent in local market
By Elaine Ruzul S. Ramos

Market leader Toyota Motor Philippines Corp. said yesterday it expects sales growth to slow down further next year as the influx of cheaper Chinese and Korean cars continue to take its toll on more pricey Japanese automotive brands.

Daniel Isla, first vice president for marketing and sales, said full-year sales this year would grow close to 10 percent, slower than the 18-percent year-on-year rate in 2007.

“We are targeting this year full-year sales to hit close to 10 percent,” he said.

Toyota last year sold 45,091 units, up 18 percent from 38,258 units in 2006.

“We have targeted a modest growth between 3 and 5 percent for next year. The entry of cheaper models from China and Korea has expanded the domestic market. We always welcome competition because it makes us work harder,” said Isla.

He said the entire industry had posted double-digit growth year-to-date but Chinese and Korean brands had been steadily eating into the respective market shares of the more expensive Japanese, American and European passenger cars.

Hyundai Asia Resources, local distributor of the Korean car, has displaced established brands like US-based Ford Motor Co. in terms of sales. It ranked fifth in the latest report of the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc. with a 5,064 units sold and a corresponding market share of 6.9 percent in the first seven months of the year.

Another Korean brand, Kia, has been introduced in the Philippines since the 1990s.

Chery Automobile, China’s biggest homegrown automaker, opened its first dealership in the Philippines in September last year. Other Chinese cars that will be launched in the Philippines this year are Lifan, Foton, Chana, Kama, Jac and Chang-An.

Toyota still leads the market with 26,414 units sold from January to July and a market share of 36 percent.

“The market is shifting to low displacement engines. Sales of big sports utility vehicles now are affected by high fuel costs. At Toyota, we always advertise our technology, of fuel-efficient engines that we have in our vehicles,” said Isla.

Sales of Toyota’s sub-compact vehicle Vios, he added, remained strong with the shift in market preference for vehicles with smaller engines.

Its multi-purpose vehicle, Innova, which is diesel-fed, is also one of its best-selling models amid its quality, performance and durability.
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