For the fifth year running, total industry sales soared, with the top five car brands maintaining the status quo. It was very frustrating for the rest of the field to see Toyota claiming six of the top 10 spots, but at least Mitsubishi was beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel with the rise to prominence of the Montero Sport. A new trend was also fast shaping up, as two of the top three vehicles were subcompact sedans, thanks to the arrival of a gorgeous Honda City.
This turned out to be the best year in the history of the Philippine auto industry, comfortably exceeding the previous record of 162,000 sold units. Those wishing that Toyota's sales performance would soon plateau were gravely disappointed. The carmaker sold nearly 57,000 units, although its market share dipped slightly to less than 34 percent. An important development this year was Hyundai pulling ahead of Honda for the third overall spot, proving that the Korean carmaker's rise in recent years was no fluke. I don't know what it says about us as car buyers, but four of the 10 best-selling cars this year were either an AUV or a utility vehicle.
This, in so many words and numbers, is how I choose to look back on my 16-year gig as a motoring writer. I expect more changes to the bestsellers list by the end of this year, most notably (I think) the entry of Ford in the top five overall by virtue of the Fiesta's strong sales. Anyway, I can only hope that I'll still be around when our market hits the half-million-unit mark. No, I'm not drunk on beer.