By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
Isuzu Philippines Corp. (IPC) said the government and the automobile industry must start “careful” discussion on the planned “safeguards measure” on imported cars saying such move would affect the entire industry.
IPC President Hajime Koso emphasize this at the launch of its new truck model Isuzu Traviz, a three-tonner truck model built for delivery requirements of businesses,
He said the plan to impose safeguard duty on imported motor vehicles will affect all industry players.
“We have to start discussion with government very carefully,” said Koso.
Koso, however, said it does not have plans to assemble its all-new truck model Isuzu Traviz here, but may be enticed to do so if government will provide tax breaks, especially for the parts manufacturers.
Koso said it would be expensive to produce its new truck model in the Philippines. Isuzu Traviz is imported completely built-up packs from Indonesia, which is its hub for this particular model.
But Isuzu may look at plans of local assembly for new truck models if government extends support like tax breaks such as lower excise tax.
“It’s a dream to assemble here,” he said.
At present, the company assembles trucks for Category 3 and 4 but Koso said that Isuzu Traviz has a different platform. Even as they assemble other trucks locally, the local content is still very low at only 30 percent.
The investment for the new truck line may not be that much, but Koso said they need local parts supplier that is why government support for automotive parts supplier is critical.
For Isuzu Traviz, IPC is looking at supplying around half of the estimated 16,000 unit market demand by next year.
The all-truck manufacturer selling Isuzu Travis cab and chassis for less than P1 million. The owner has to customize the unit through its body builder partners.