Philippine Star
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MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines is making headway in its goal to be a vehicle manufacturing hub in the region, posting stellar growth in both car and motorcycle production in Southeast Asia in the first half of the year. Latest data from the ASEAN Automotive Federation showed the Philippines recorded the second fastest expansion in terms of motor vehicle production in the region with 73,597 units manufactured in the first six months, up 33.6 percent from 55,077 units in the same period last year.

Only Myanmar, which is a relatively smaller market, outpaced the growth of the local vehicle industry production-wise with a growth of 242.5 percent to 1,589 units, while other major car producers like Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam posted a year-on-year decline. Volume-wise, however, Thailand remains the region's leader with 950,966 units produced in the first semester.

The start of the government'sComprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy program with Mitsubishi and Toyota as approved participants is expected to beef up local vehicle production in the coming years. Production of motorcycles and scooters in the country, meanwhile, recorded the fastest growth of 22.5 percent to 608,284 units during the January to June period.

Business ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1 Production of motorcycles in Thailand rose 15 percent while Malaysia saw a 5.1 percent uptick.

Overall, vehicle production in the region dipped 2.1 percent to 1.

98 million units in the first half, while production of motorcycles and scooters jumped 16.1 percent to 1.85 million units.

In terms of sales, the Philippines continued to enjoy the second fastest growth in the region for motor vehicles while posting the fastest acceleration for motorcycles during the six-month period. Myanmar led the expansion for vehicles sales during the period with an 81.4 percent growth, followed by Philippines with 17.1 percent, and Thailand with 11.2 percent.

Motorcycle sales in the Philippines zoomed by 12.7 percent, followed by Singapore with 7.5 percent, and Malaysia with six percent.

Demand for both passenger and commercial vehicles remained strong in the first half, prompting the industry to enjoy robust double-digit growth. Greater mobility andaffordability, meanwhile, are the main reasons for Filipinos sustained use of motorcycles.

Both theautomotive and motorcycle industries continue to benefit from the country's good economy and more people having increased purchasing power.