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Despite the pandemic year, numbers don’t lie

2020 will go down in history as a year best forgotten and thrown out the window

Ronald de los Reyes

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2020’s top performers

Every year, industries come up with their top performers — the cream of the crop. These are determined either by competition or by market response through their sheer number of patrons.
2020 was no different.

Despite the pandemic year, industries have somehow delivered the numbers — not those that we had hoped for at the start of last year though as most players nosedived to rock-bottom by the end of 2020.


MG finished 2020 in ninth place.

In the music industry — for example — popular South Korean group BTS climbed at the top of the Billboard Top 100 with its hit song “Dynamite” for four weeks (garnering almost 800 million YouTube views), equaling even the feats of the great British boy band, Beatles.

CR-V on its 30 th year in the industry.

In sports, the Lebron James — led Los Angeles Lakers delivered the crown despite being inside the bubble, while Briton race icon Lewis Hamilton captured his seventh Formula One World Title (despite being in an empty race track), rivalling that of the great Michael Schumacher.

Here in our own turf in the local automotive scene, industry players — faced with a tumultuous task of selling cars despite most of the consumers on “survival mode” — still came up with the numbers. Again, these as are not the numbers we had hoped for.

MMPC was able to come up with a more stylish MPV with its Xpander Cross.

In fact, with the way things were looking by the end of first half of 2020, most experts were already foreseeing a sharp decline in sales amid the brunt of the virus crisis. True enough, they proved to be ‘Nostradamuses’ as the overall industry dropped by 40 percent by the end of last year.

HONDA unveiled the all-new City in 2020.

It’s a truly sad feat. 2020 will go down in history as a year best forgotten and thrown out the window. But — like they say — the show must go on.

We must learn to live with it and just hope for the best in the coming months to come. It’s a grim picture — yes — but that doesn’t mean that we don’t get to recognize those that have tread that tightrope to — somehow — survive 2020 the best way they possibly could.

And so, the following is the list this writer has come up with through various research and credible industry reports.

The whole automotive industry only sold a total of 244,617 units — far from the 410,000 units in 2019. Just to give you a glimpse, here are the figures of the top ten local automakers according to rank.

Top carmakers

No. 10 Foton Philippines
(2,456 units sold)

United Asia Automotive Group Inc. (UAAGI) has always been steadfast — pandemic year or not. And so — for 2020 — it still made it to the top ten in the automotive industry with 2,456 units sold. This may be a 43-percent drop from 2019 of 4,293 units sold — still, making it to the top ten is still a better feat than most.

No. 9 MG (3,432 units sold)

The British brand had a promising start by early 2020 as it was hoping to bring its remarkable momentum in 2019 to the following year. However — as the same story goes — nature had other plans. It was good enough for a ninth place finish in the industry last year.

No. 8 Isuzu Philippines Corp.
(11,240 units sold)

SUZUKI unveiled the cutesy S-Presso.

After its D-Max assembly plant closure in 2019, the Japanese truckmaker was hoping to bounce back the following year. However, the pandemic happened. Good thing — a few of its models like the Isuzu Traviz and other modernized jeepneys — which were unveiled in 2019 — proved to be helpful during the lockdowns. It landed on the same spot it did the previous year.

No. 7 Honda Cars Philippines Inc.
(11,711 units sold)

The Japanese carmaker churned out 11, 711 units — a 42-percent decline the previous year. It cemented its commitment to provide superior mobility in its 30th year in the country with launches of the fifth-generation City and new CR-V in October last year.

For this year — like many, if not all of these car industry players — HCPI looks forward to a better year ahead.

No. 6 Ford Philippines
(14,775 units sold)

The American carmaker pulled out all the stops last year to finish the best way it could. Fortunately, it proved fruitful for some of its models like the 4×4 Ford Ranger pickup truck — which eventually turned out to be the bestseller in its segment with a 41-percent market share.
Also, the automaker introduced the all-new Territory — which proved to be a game-changer in its own segment, even capturing 33 percent of its market share within just a five-month selling period.

It was likewise the year that it unveiled the Everest Trend, Everest Sport and F-150 full-size pickup.

No. 5 Suzuki Philippines Inc.
(15,515 units sold)

Like many of its fellow players in the local market, the Japanese compact car expert kept pulling out all the stops last year. It offered promos right and left, was aggressive on social media or practically the virtual world and unveiled a number of models. A few of these models were the all-new S-Presso and the XL7. It capped off 2020 with a 15,515-unit turn out and landed a fifth place finish.

No. 4 Hyundai Asia Resources Inc.
(16,346 units sold)

The Korean carmaker was tooth and nail coming up with various ideas to help itself entice the market despite everyone on ‘survival mode’ and having cars as the least of their priorities. It was able to turn out 16,346 units by the end of 2020.

No. 3 Nissan Philippines Inc.
(21,751 units sold)

The Japanese automaker was a silent worker in 2020, focusing more on results rather than making a lot of noise. It did so in fashion, finishing third in the industry. Recognized as one of the bestselling local pickup trucks is its Nissan Navara.

No. 2 Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp.
(37,366 units sold)

THE American carmaker unraveled a game-changer in the all-new Ford Territory.

The number two carmaker in the country went out there with guns blazing as it was aggressive in all fronts, striving its best to finish the year the best way it possibly could. Its efforts resulted in 37,366 units sold, having its iconic Mitsubishi Mirage G4 as its bestseller with 8,638 units sold.

No. 1 Toyota Motor Philippines
(99,545 units sold)

As the country’s number one automaker, Toyota Motor Philippines has — time immemorial — been the sales driver of the automotive industry. Despite all the odds, it was determined to keep its number one spot with launches of various new Toyota models, such as: the Wigo, Vios, Hybrid Corolla Cross, Fortuner and many others.
TMP was able to sell 99,545 units in 2020.

Important to note

THE only local carmaker to ever churn out a positive 840-percent growth for last year is Geely Philippines.

Coming up short in the top 10 automotive rankings in 2020 is Geely Philippines which landed on the 11th spots ahead of Kia Philippines — despite being the only local carmaker to ever churn out a positive 840-percent growth for last year. The Chinese carmaker sold a total of 2,158 units compared to its 2019 performance of only 229 units sold.

RELIABLE Toyota Hiace brought home a total 10,362 units sold.

The Geely Coolray is its prized model which won the hearts of various jurors in local award-giving bodies.

2020’s bestsellers
From automakers, we now go down to the more specific stuff — the bestselling models of last year. It is important to note that aside from usual models that dominated the local market the past years, there’s a ‘surprise model’ that was able to reach this very exclusive club. So, here we go.

ENTRY-LEVEL hatchback became the ‘go to’ vehicle for budget-conscious first-time car buyers.

No. 10 Toyota Fortuner
(8,494 units sold)

At 10th place, the country’s iconic midsize sport utility vehicle — the Toyota Fortuner — captured the biggest share in its own segment with 8,494 units sold.

WORKHORSE has been a dependable road companion for Filipinos for city driving and off-road adventures.

Late last year, TMP was able to come up with the latest edition of this much-coveted sport-ute.

Though the carmaker was able to sell 19,865 units of the model in 2019, it still further cemented its lead in the market as it now comes in the new LTD 4×4 and 4×2 variants. This coveted SUV starts at P1,063,000 and truly offers great value for money with the brand’s signature quality, durability and reliability embedded in its DNA.

No. 9 Mitsubishi Mirage G4
(8,638 units sold)

MMPC was able to keep its pride and joy despite a catastrophic year with its Philippine-made Mitsubishi Mirage G4. It sold a total of 8,638 units of the popular compact sedan.
In 2019, it sold a total of 17,835 units. It is well-loved for its style, performance, comfort and fuel-efficiency. The vehicle is available in the G4 GLX 1.2 MT, G4 GLX 1.2 CVT and G4 GLS 1.2 CVT variants and is priced accordingly — P735,000, P785,000 and P869,000.

OUR 2020 champion — the Toyota Vios.

No. 8 Nissan Navara
(9,164 units sold)

The Nissan Navara is the Japanese carmaker’s foremost sales driver. This is probably one of the logic behind its recent Almera plant closure as the automaker is set to capitalize more on its strengths — which are its heavyweights — the pickup truck and SUV models.

NISSAN Navara is the Japanese carmaker’s foremost sales driver.

In 2019, the Navara cornered its segment with 19,034 units.

No. 7 Ford Ranger (9,767 units sold)

Ford has been the surprise entry in this top 10 list as the last time it had a model in this exclusive circle was several years ago. A big chunk of the Ranger’s sales is attributed to its 4×4 pickup models comprising of 5,093 units — or 52 percent of its total Ranger sales.

Currently, it offers a 4×4 variant for the Ranger XLS, FX4 and Wildtrak, including the Ranger Raptor.

In 2020, Ford gained more traction with its expanded truck portfolio with the launch of the new Ranger FX4 and a 4×4 variant. This move further widened the appeal of the Ranger among customers seeking for a tough and capable pickup.

With the 4×4 variant, customers can tackle extreme road conditions and challenging terrains — just like the pandemic year that was 2020.

No. 6 Toyota Rush
(10,194 units sold)

The Toyota Rush has been of one the leaders in its local segment for the past years and has actually sold about 15,172 units in 2019.

For 2020, it sits at sixth place with 10, 194 units sold. It even upped the ante when it rolled out the 2021 Rush in the last quarter. The now three-row seater Rush E Grade can accommodate more passengers.

The improved Rush 1.5 E retails at P1,023,000 for the automatic variant, while its manual tranny is available for P983,000. The top-grade Rush 1.5 G — meanwhile — can be had for P1,100,000.

No. 5 Toyota Hiace (10,362 units sold)

At fifth place, the Toyota Hiace brought home a total 10,362 units sold. For years, the Philippine market has been one of the thriving industries for the popular van.

No. 4 Toyota Innova
(10,551 units sold)

Next, in fourth place is the carmaker’s reliable and lovable Toyota Innova — which churned out a total of 10,551 units sold in the local market.

No. 3 Toyota Wigo
(11,853 units sold)

MITSUBISHI sold a total of 8,638 units of the popular compact sedan.

Continuing Toyota’s streak in the local foothold is the Toyota Wigo in third. Last year, it introduced the new Wigo with a more stylish and sportier look.

At a time when public transportation became inevitably more risky due to the threats of the virus coupled with the stress of long queuing since the government’s stricter social distancing policies, this entry-level hatchback became handy for budget-conscious first-time car buyers. In short, it became TMP’s answer to the new normal.

The Wigo lineup is bannered by the new TRD S, a sporty variant from Toyota’s family of renowned in-house tuning backing its racing interests around the world.

Other lower variants have slightly upgraded its features, making it the usual reliable vehicle we know that is practical and affordable — yet is still fun to drive.

It’s available with the following colors and prices: TRD S — P700,000 (Yellow SE, White, Gray Metallic); G AT — P658,000 (Orange, Metallic Black, Silver Metallic, White and Gray Metallic); G MT — P623,000 (Orange, Metallic Black, Silver Metallic, White and Gray Metallic) and E MT — P568,000 (Silver Metallic, White and Gray Metallic).

No. 2 Toyota Hilux (13,637 units sold)

Last year, the Toyota Hilux dominated its truck segment with a commanding 13, 637-unit turnout — for the second bestselling vehicle in the local market. In 2019, it led its own market with a 30.5 percent share.

With its rugged looks and powerful performance — combined with Toyota’s signature quality, durability and reliability — the updated Hilux — which was unveiled last year — further established its position as the country’s bestselling pickup truck.

The workhorse has been a dependable road companion for Filipinos for city driving and off-road adventures — whether at work or at play.

No. 1 Toyota Vios (25,290 units sold)

Finally — our champion. The Toyota Vios sold a total of 25,290 units last year. It may be down from the 33,181 sold units in 2019 — but it still gets to keep its crown.

With the unveiling of the upgraded model last year, the Toyota Vios — no doubt — becomes the Filipino’s quintessential road companion. It has been providing the local automotive market with a practical and smart daily driver for the past 17 years.

The Vios has been known for its quality, efficient and safe mode of transportation. Starting at a price of P662,000, it comes in nine available variants: the G CVT and M/T, E CVT and M/T, XLE CVT and M/T, XE CVT, and J and J Base in M/T.

It may be lonely at the top spot. But this subcompact sedan is surely reaping the rewards.

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