More car sales after PH credit upgrade

Car distributors are confident that the country's investment grade rating would have a positive effect on car sales.

MANILA, Philippines – Car distributors are confident that the country’s investment grade rating would have a positive effect on car sales.

Lower interest rates from the credit upgrade would give a boost to sectors like the automotive industry, which sources a bulk of its sales through bank loans, noted Berjaya Auto Philippines CEO Steven Tan.

“It affects everybody. Everybody gains from that,” Tan said at the Car of the Year Awards on Thursday, April 4.

Berjaya Auto, which distributes Mazda cars in the Philippines, has positive sales projections for 2013. Tan declined to give a definite target, but said that his company is confident of beating the industry average.

Berjaya Auto started operating as Mazda’s distributor on January 1, 2013.

Tan said that his company would expand “as long as the economy is growing.” He added that Berjaya Auto is already set to open 5 more dealerships, hiking its total number to 16.

Dong Magsajo, the marketing communications director for Eurobrands Distributor, Inc., said that there is a migration of investment to Asia because of the shrinking car market in the European Union. Magsajo added that the Philippines has become an attractive target as car makers migrate to the continent.

Eurobrands markets vehicles from French car company Peugeot. It is owned by the Alvarez Group of Companies, which also has interests in KIA distributor Columbian Autocar Corp. and BMW distributor Asian Carmakers Corporation.  

Magsajo predicted that the Philippines would soon attract expensive European brands that are not standard in the country. He added that while European brands like Peugeot are sold at premium prices, it is still competitive against Japanese and Korean cars.

Car sales in the country grew by 42% to 26,588 units in January-February 2013 compared to the same period last year. The Chamber of the Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (CAMPI) attributed the growth to the country’s robust economy. –  

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