Ayala eyes foreign partners for car-making venture

By James A. Loyola

AC Industrial Technology Holdings, Inc., the manufacturing arm of Ayala Corporation, is talking to two car companies for a possible partnership in putting up automotive manufacturing facilities in the Philippines.

In an interview, IMI Chief Executive Officer Arthur Tan said one of the two prospective partners already has a presence in the Philippines while the other company does not.

“The market is attractive right now for a lot of different brands. That is because of the way the tax structure is. It makes it even more compelling for brands who wants to dominate the local market to go ahead and find a (partner)... and hopefully our capabilities will show that we are the right partner for them to do this,” said Tan.

At present, the AC Industrials owns shares in the Philippine companies that distribute vehicles from Honda Motor, Isuzu Motors, and Volkswagen.

AC Industrials is also producing KTM motorcyles in Laguna and is now exporting to Thailand and Vietnam. Tan said they are also preparing to ship to Vietnam.

He said earlier that the Ayala group is prepared to invest up to $100 million over the next three years in a venture that will make the Philippines a regional hub for next-generation cars, including autonomous vehicles.

"We see that the core of a country to move from developing to developed has to pass through an industrial evolution, and a part of the industrialization means manufacturing," said Tan.

He said Ayala aspires to trigger the industrialization of the Philippines by developing next-generation cars.