By Ben de Vera
Wondering why there are so many motorcycles on the road? It’s because new sales of these cheaper motorized two-wheeled vehicles have already breached the one-million mark as of end-August.
The Federation of Asian Motorcycle Industries’ (FAMI) database showed that sales in the Philippines rose 1.5 percent to 1.04 million during the first eight months of 2023 compared to the 1.027 million sold a year ago.
The FAMI database cited its latest data from the Philippine industry group Motorcycle Development Program Participants Association Inc. (MDPPA), which groups four Japanese brands –- Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, and Yamaha — as members. This means that Chinese and Taiwanese motorcycle brands are not included in the monthly MDPPA and FAMI sales as well as manufacturing reports.
In August alone, MDPPA’s members sold 111,280 motorcycles, a four-month low.
Newspaper reports last August quoted MDPPA president Norminio “Boying” Mojica as saying that the “ghost” month of August and December had usually “maintained an average profile in terms of monthly sales.”
Motorcycle sellers were nonetheless looking forward to the months of September to November, as historically they sold more units.
As such, MDPPA targets to sell 1.6 million motorcycles in 2023, up from last year’s 1.5 million.
Back in May, MDPPA had a more optimistic sales goal of 1.72 million motorcycles for 2023, which would have exceeded the pre-pandemic record-high of 1.704 million units sold in 2019.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, domestic motorcycle sales fell to 1.206 million units in 2020, before increasing to 1.435 million in 2021, and 1.564 million in 2022, FAMI data showed.
On top of mobility restrictions at the height of the COVID-19 lockdowns, it did not help that fuel prices had been on the rise as many economic activities resumed, coupled with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which jacked up global oil prices.
MDPPA had also blamed sluggish sales recovery to pre-pandemic levels on supply-chain issues as well as ‘work-from-home’ arrangements, which discouraged mobility.
Nonetheless, alongside improving sales also came higher motorcycle production of MDPPA’s member-manufacturers, which the latest FAMI data showed rose to 791,784 units as of end-July from only 526,004 a year ago.
In 2022, MDPPA members assembled a total of 1.003 million motorcycle units, up from 867,453 in 2021 and 631,370 in 2020.
Pre-pandemic manufacturing output was still better, with a record 1.22 million motorcycles churned out by domestic players back in 2018.
From 2016 to 2019, local motorcycle assemblers had been producing over a million units annually, until COVID-19 struck.
The rest of the motorcycles being sold locally are imports.