By BERNIE CAHILES-MAGKILAT
Toyota Motor Philippines Corp. (TMPC), the country’s leading car company, is cautiously optimistic for 2020 amid challenging global developments that could cloud out a more favorable local scenario.
TMP Chairman Alfred V. Ty told reporters at the annual Toyota Media Thanksgiving that what is driving growth of cars this year is the on time approval of the ₱4.1- trillion 2020 national budget. The delay in the budget approval in 2019 had caused delays in projects and affected growth of local businesses including car sales.
In the domestic front, the Philippine economy is expected to grow at a faster pace backed by government spending, better inflation rates, and monetary settings.
“For the automotive market, we project a modest, single digit growth for the first half, but as in the past, we remain optimistic for a stronger second semester,” he said.
He noted that Philippine economy improved its growth in the second semester as the national budget kicked. This resulted in an encouraging growth of the automotive sector in the fourth quarter or the entire second semester although the industry closed the year on a flat growth.
“Last year, fourth quarter was encouraging. I cannot count first six months of last year because of delayed budget, but if you look at just last six months that’s the real performance of the economy.
This year, the budget was approved on time and you have full 12 months to work with. In that sense, we are optimistic for all of the signs of the 4th quarter,” he said.
Domestically, he said the government will start to roll out some infrastructure projects such as the new highways, new roads. “Those are all great for the auto industry, driving cars will be so much fun once again you have less congestion.
I look forward to your Skyway Stage 3, your CALAX, our north south connector that will stimulate the market because of convenience from point to point not just for fun (of driving),” he added.
While the domestic front is encouraging, Ty said that they are taking a “cautious” stance because developments in the global scene could impact the local economy.
He said that the US-China are quiet so far but it is not certain for how long these giant economies can hold on their peace.
Despite this scenario, Ty said 2010 is expected to be a “better year than last year.” He said that TMP’s growth this year would remain small or just within the single digit band, which could also be the scenario of Toyota regionally.
“Because not easy, you have to stimulate the market and there are so many players in town,” he said.
Ty noted that the aggressive entry of China-made cars into the country has made the industry more exciting.
“Every time we have competition it will always be more exciting and we continue with marketing efforts,” he said.
Despite the many competition, TMP continues to lead the market and even widened its market share some more. In 2019, the Japanese carmaker expanded its share.
“I won’t not that the Chinese brands have no impact on us, you just have to defend the fort,” he added.
In 2019, TMP sold a total of 162,011 units or 5.9 percent increase over the 2018 sales of 153,004 units. The Japanese carmaker also widened its market share in the local auto industry with 43.79 percent from 42.81 percent share in 2018 among the 24 members of CAMPI-TMA. But, in the overall domestic auto industry, TMP’s share was 39.5 percent.
Of TMP’s total sales, 54,028 units were produced locally in its Sta. Rosa manufacturing plant.
He further adds, “Despite the downturn of 2018, Toyota Motor Philippines maintained its workforce of 2,195 Filipinos, on top of those employed by its network of 71 dealers nationwide.”
Ty further said they were able to produce 33,181 units of VIOS last year, making them on track with its commitment under the CARS program of the Board of Investments where program participants are required to produce 200,000 units of the enrolled model over a 6-year period.
“As industry leader, it is Toyota’s role to drive the industry back to sustainable growth. We will continue to be this country’s solid partner in nation-building. In fact, as of end 2019, TMP has paid a total of ₱384.3 billion cumulative taxes since the start of our operations,” said Ty.
Despite the downturn of 2018, Ty said TMP maintained its workforce of 2,195 Filipinos, on top of those employed by its network of 71 dealers nationwide.