Friday, 22 May 2009

Metro Cebu car dealers enjoy brisk sales, run out of vehicles to sell

Wilfredo Rodolfo III
Business Mirror

CAR dealers in Metro Cebu said they are running out of inventory of vehicles as they continue to exceed sales estimates for the year despite the slowing economy and the competition from rampant smuggling in southern Philippines.

Jose Manual Cuenco, president of the Car Dealers Association of Cebu (Cadac), said some dealers are forced to turn down customers as there are no more stocks of the vehicles they prefer.

Dealers, however, continue to market themselves aggressively with all key players joining the Cebu Auto Show at the Cebu International Convention Center (CICC) which opened on Thursday.

“The biggest problem for us is the pessimism. If we had been a little optimistic, we could have sold more,” Cuenco said. Most car dealers have been projected to grow by zero percent in 2009, thus stocks were limited and production schedules slowed—but the results were the opposite.

He said dealers in Cebu are experien-cing 5- to 10-percent growth in volume and value for the first several months of the year, despite the limited number of stocks and despite the slow economy. Cuenco said traditional markets for commercial vehicles, passenger cars and even company vehicles still lead the pack.

Dealers, however, said there is an increasing number of middle-income car buyers in Cebu, an indication that despite the economic reports, things are doing well for Central Philippines. Toyota Cebu, Bohol and Leyte sell out some 200 cars a month this year, Cuenco said.

He also identified an increasing preference for more fuel-efficient cars, adding buyers who used to buy wider, bigger engine cars are now opting for smaller yet efficient models.

He said shows like the Cebu Auto Show, which is held side-by-side the Philippine World Building and Construction Expo and Cebu Foods and Beverages are a chance for the car dealers to show that they are still alive and business is actually good.Cebu City Acting Mayor Michael Rama said the three shows are an example that despite the crisis, the private sector is doing its share to keep business going.

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