As we’ve observed in our Insight Report for the first quarter (Q1) of 2018, the slow start of the automotive industry this year may be attributed to a number of factors, mainly the influence of the implementation of the new TRAIN law. But, thanks to the new car launches, dealership expansions, brand reinvention or new automakers coming into the market, the Philippine automotive industry seems to have weathered the hard times that it experienced earlier in the year, and that it is finally getting down to business.
During the second quarter (Q2), the local car market experienced the excitement from consumers who anticipated the introduction of the Toyota Rush, the Mitsubishi Xpander, and the long awaited Nissan Terra. Volkswagen also won some of the recent limelight with what can only be described as a brand relaunch in the country, making the Philippines be the first in the region to sell the newly launched vehicles from China, including the Santana, Lavida, Lamando and Tiguan. This instance makes one thing very clear – bringing new products to the market is always a sure mean to stimulate consumer interest.
And while the industry continues to thrive with competition heating up, we witness that the race for sales in 2018 has been incredibly beneficial to car buyers using our platform. Not only have we seen a phenomenal improvement in dealership engagement at AutoDeal, which is marked by reduce response time and increased engagement from sales agents, but the volume of positive testimonials from consumers steadily continue to rise through our buyer reviews feature.
As such, in our Insight Report for Q2, we highlight three main findings on consumer engagement, product preferences and purchase urgency. Based on the data we gathered from the usage of AutoDeal platform, the subcompact cars, light pickup trucks and compact crossovers continue to be the preferred purchases of choice as mid-size SUV numbers continue to struggle. Steadfast interest in the MPV/AUV market could help fuel growth in the year for new market products like the Toyota Rush and Mitsubishi Xpander. But this should not be a concern for those that worry about the mid-size SUV market, as they may take comfort in consumer interest levels in Q2; which saw a 10.59% jump compared to Q1.
Also, in comparison to Q1, purchase intent among Philippine car buyers is improving with more prospects targeting the completion of a purchase within the year. Likewise Q2 experienced a speed up in lead to sale conversion with the quarterly average dropping to just 43 days (seven days quicker compared to Q1 figure). However, purchase urgency still remains significantly lower when compared to the same period in 2017.
In overall, spurred by new product entries, dealers should anticipate increased sales opportunities throughout the third quarter (Q3). The race carries on to see which brands will finish on top this year, especially now that the local car market seems to be picking up the pieces. It may have taken longer than usual, but it’s on. Definitely on.
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Consumer interest is heightened, heating up competition this time around.