The Philippines has seen an unprecedented growth in car sales in the past few years.
Data from the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (CAMPI) and Truck Manufacturers Association (TMA) show that the combined commercial and passenger car sales more than quadrupled in the past 13 years, from 97,063 units in 2005 to 425,672 in 2017.
Car sales in 2017 alone grew by 18.4 percent, up from 359,572 units sold in 2016. CAMPI President Rommel Gutierrez cited aggressive promos by car dealers and new model updates as the main drivers of the growth last year, according to news reports.
The continuous rise of car ownership in the country is often cited as one of the biggest factors that contribute to the notorious Metro Manila traffic, which was ranked as the third worst in Southeast Asia in November 2017 by global management consulting firm Boston Consulting Group (BCG).
Oddly, the rising popularity of transport network vehicle services (TNVS) in the country is said to be partly responsible for the heavy traffic in the city. In a March 2017 article in The Freeman, Carmudi Philippines Managing Director Abhishek Mohan attributed the increase in the sales of small sedan cars to the rising number of people buying cars to use for TNVS companies.
But there are signs that widespread use of ride-sharing services could also potentially dampen car use and even future car ownership among regular customers of Grab and Uber, the two leading TNVS in the Philippines.
A report by Grab Philippines shows that 81.7 percent of users of TNVS who have no access to private cars said they don’t need to own a car anymore, while 89.3 percent of those who own cars said they now rely less on their private vehicles. (See infographic)
As a result, 90.5 percent of the respondents said they now have better access to public transport because of TNVS like Grab and Uber, while another 85.1 percent said that they find carpooling more convenient.
A total of 16,728 active TNVS riders participated in the survey done by Grab Philippines, who were active users of ride-sharing services and booked at least one ride from these apps from January 3 to February 2, 2018. Of these, 8,600 or 51 percent have access to private vehicles, while 8,128 respondents or 49 percent don’t have access to private cars.
Pauline Macaraeg is Entrepreneur PH's data journalist. Follow her on Twitter @paulinemacaraeg