MANILA, March 20 (Xinhua) -- The improvement in the incomes of Filipinos will increase the demand for vehicles and allow the automotive industry to hike sales by as much as 20 percent this year, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said.
Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo also said the increase in car sales will be sustained in the long-term particularly if the Philippines will continue to tread a high economic growth path.
"The local automotive sector is on its way to (increasing sales by) 20 percent yearly over the next decade," Domingo told reporters Wednesday night.
He said the expanding domestic market base is making the local automotive sector more attractive to foreign investors.
Last year, combined sales of auto assemblers and distributors of imported vehicles reached 212,000 units. This is higher than the 200,000-unit target set by the local auto industry in 2013.
Domingo said four big auto assemblers has taken note of the increasing appetite for cars in the Philippines. These assemblers, he said, have expressed interest to invest a total of 2 billion U. S. dollars to put up comprehensive automotive manufacturing facilities in the country possibly within the year.
The DTI is hoping to secure the approval of Philippine President Benigno Aquino III for the automotive industry roadmap by April. The blueprint outlines strategies that aim to transform the Philippines into the region's auto hub.