Forgiven, but Rommel still owes me one

FINALLY, I got the midyear vehicle sales records. Easy. They came from Valentin Dakuykoy, my ever-reliable legman. Not from Rommel Gutierrez, the long-serving president of Campi (Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc.). Campi is the official custodian of vehicle statistics in tandem with the Truck Manufacturers Association.

Why Rommel didn’t, couldn’t, provide me with the official running data of vehicle sales for 2017 is beyond me. And to think that we often bump into each other almost with telling regularity, not to mention me being his No. 1 applauder whenever he does Bee Gees songs on the mike when it’s partying time.

Too busy my friend?

But I don’t take it against him.

Friends can’t afford to harbor ill feelings over trivialities. Friendship must remain rock solid and never be weakened by emotions. If love could succumb to sentimentalities, not friendship, I must insist.

And so, no worries, Rommel. Just sing me “I Started a Joke” the next time we meet and everything’s forgiven, forgotten. But do it a cappella, OK?

Now to the sales records.

The industry sold almost 200,000 units from January to June this year—or 196,164 units to be exact.

That is a heart-warming development, as the figures more than surpassed projections. Year 2017 is deemed to sell from 400,000 to 450,000 units.

That first-six-months data on sales alone is 28,684 units more than what were sold in that same period in 2016. It even eclipsed the overall total of 181,283 units sold in 2013.

Why the sales surge again, recorded this early with still almost five months to go before 2017 bids adieu?

The impending vehicle excise tax seems to be the culprit, the so-called trigger of cars costing more once the Senate replicates the House of Representatives’ decision affirming the passage of the new vehicle law geared toward the Tax Reform Acceleration and Inclusion (Train) that President Duterte has been pushing all this time.

As discussed here a while back, the revenues to be collected from the Train bill will help finance massive infrastructure projects to include more roads, bridges, marine ports, road widening, airports, skyways and many similar platforms like flood-control projects and the like.

Leading the pack in sales performances as usual is Toyota, cornering a whopping 42.73 percent of the market, followed by Mitsubishi, 19.11 percent; Isuzu, 11.03 percent; Ford, 8.52 percent and Nissan, 5.21 percent.

Toyota sold 85,161, or make that a total of 85,728 if we include sales of Lexus, Toyota’s “little big brother”, in the first six months of the year.

With Vios selling 19,265 units, plus Fortuner’s 17,308 units sold in the same period for combined sales of 36,573 on both the passenger car and sport-utility vehicle (SUV)-commercial vehicle, respectively, Toyota Motors Philippines, this early, seems bound for another Triple Crown victory by year-end—its 14th straight feat.

But Mitsubishi is not to be denied, recording impressive first-half-of-the-year sales with 34,549 units sold based on the combined strong performances of Montero Sport SUV, L300 and Mirage 4—not to mention its Adventure accounting for 6,558 units sold from January to June.

What is even amazing is Montero’s showing, which sold 8,101 units in the said period in utter defiance of supposed bad publicity brought about by that SAS (sudden acceleration scourge) allegedly afflicting the Montero only a while back. (But without basis, in the end?). If that strong sales showing is not vindication enough for the Montero, what is?

Isuzu deserves recognition too, as its 14,225 units sold surpassed its 2016 showing of 13,258 for a 7.3-percent sales increase over the same period. Isuzu’s MU-X led the sales assault (6,453 as against 2016’s 6,297), followed by D-Max (2,292 as against 2016’s 1,897) and Crosswind (2,309).

Interestingly, Crosswind’s superb showing similar to that of Mitsubishi’s Adventure defies imagination, as both models appear extinct-bound due to the country’s shift to Euro 4 standards in 2018, in the process disqualifying Euro 2 compliant Crosswind and Adventure.

Well, as the saying goes: All things must pass, including the good, tested, ones.

That said, here’s wishing the industry more power in the remaining months of 2017.

May Metro Manila traffic also improve by year-end—finally?

If that should happen, I pray Rommel would not consider it as a joke. Quits?


PEE STOP Good luck to public -relations practitioner Abigail Diane Granada, who has left Honda Cars Philippines for the so-called greener pastures. In her place is Lyka de la Cruz. Welcome, Lyka. Ekong Caruncho says the Kia launch has been moved to  August 8, 2 p.m., at Building B’s 5th floor of SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City. I missed the  August 3  Seaoil news briefing arranged by Jingjing Romero, as I was scheduled for a trip to Siquijor that day. I’m sure it went well, Jingjing? Whatever happened to the supposed P1-billion taxes/penalties being levied on Hyundai by the Department of Trade and Industry? Just curious.