By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
Newly-installed Toyota Motor Philippine Corp. President Atsuhiro Okamoto said he still sees there is some room for growth in the Philippines despite its already overwhelming market share in the local car market.
“The current report placed Toyota market share at 39.5 percent but still, there is some room for growth,” Okamoto told reporters at the turnover ceremonies for the top TMP leadership from Satoru Suzuki, who led the local Toyota on a high note achieving record-breaking market share and 18th consecutive Triple Crown as of December 2019.
He said that his challenge in the country is not only in the new car business but also on improving value chain and its mobility business. He cited an already strong demand amid a growing young population.
Okamoto, who will be leading TMP’s path towards offering new mobility solutions, cited the importance of dedication by all TMP members.
“We will continuously do so by providing ever better cars and services to enhance the quality of life of Filipinos.” Okamoto said in his speech.
A graduate of Keio University, Okamoto started his career at Toyota Motor Corporation in 1992. He has gained a rich marketing experience handling Toyota and Lexus brands in the past 28 years. His former assignment as executive vice president of Toyota Motor Asia Pacific, likewise, gave him a closer understanding of the ASEAN market and the Philippines.
For his part, at the turnover ceremonies, Suzuki presented a glimpse of how Toyota will transform into a mobility company, which aims to improve people’s daily lives through various mobility solutions.
During his term, TMP business also grew with the introduction of new Toyota models and the expansion of its distribution network nationwide, with additional 23 dealers, to better serve the needs of the market.
In his farewell speech, Suzuki thanked Toyota customers who put their trust in the brand, saying, “You are the reason for Toyota’s passion to be always better.”
TMP Chairman Alfred V. Ty thanked stakeholders for their support to Toyota’s business in the Philippines for over 30 years now. Ty underscored Toyota’s sustained commitment to nation building, especially through local automotive manufacturing. “Because of your unwavering support and friendship, we have been able to remain true to our promise of service to the Filipino and the Philippine nation,” Ty said.
In his message, Ty highlighted TMP’s investments under the Government’s Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy or CARS Program, which already reached 5.42 Billion pesos, enabling transfer of technology, employment generation and skills development, among others. Ty also thanked the government for the CARS Program because it gave Toyota an indispensable role in enhancing the industrial and manufacturing capability of the country.
Globally, Toyota is transforming into a mobility company, stemming from Toyota Motor Corporation president Akio Toyoda’s direction. Toyota’s concept of the automobile will continue to change in the current era of innovations, particularly in terms of connectivity, automation, shared mobility, and electrification.
With such new technologies, Toyota aims to develop communities that are not just centered on “cars” but on “people.” In the Philippines, where the population is huge and the economy is fast-growing, mobility needs will continue to evolve and become vital to socio-economic development.