Toyota PH to renegotiate CARS timeframe

Toyota Motor Philippines Corp. (TMP) said it will soon start to renegotiate with the government for possible adjustment on the timeline of the Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS) Program, citing difficulty of meeting the agreed target amid the cororavirus pandemic.

TMP President Atsuhiro Okamoto said at the virtual launch of the all-New Vios , its enrolled model in the CARS Program. The CARS Program grants tax incentives for a program participant that can produce 200,000 units for the enrolled model over a six-year period. 

 “Sales dramatically dropped  and will take sometime for the market to recover to the original assumption. So, the target volume of CARS as of now might be actually difficult to achieve within the original 2024 fixed time,” he said.

He explained that its manufacturing plant in Sta. Rosa, Laguna is still running on a single shift and is producing 100 units a month only of Vios until middle of September this year. After that, he said, TMP will ramp up operation to two shifts to achieve 200-unit monthly production.

TMP Senior Vice President for Marketing Jose Maria Atienza  said they are targeting 24,000 units this year, including 14,000 units of the model. He said that sales are picking up after the lockdown and expressed confidence on improved sales in the fourth quarter to get back to the old volumes of 2,700 to 3,000 units a month levels.

Okamoto explained that TMP cannot also give a clear production target because this will depend on market appetite. He noted that sales have been down 40 percent during the lockdown. Despite the disruption in operation, Okamoto said they managed to keep their team. “Basically, we maintain our labor force,” he said.

Earlier, Trade and Industry Undersecretary Ceferino S. Rodolfo said the government was willing to negotiate on the timeframe of the CARS Program but was inflexible on the volume requirement.

Atienza said that its cumulative local production of Vios in the Philippines since it was first introduced in 2003 is nearing 300,000 already, accounting for the bulk of its total 800,000 vehicle production in the past 30 years.

Vios is the best selling compact sedan in the country and is positioned for first time car buyers. It has been known for its reliability, efficiency and efficiency.

The Philippines is the first country where Toyota introduced the all-New Vios, which has a price range of P671,000 to P1.056 million.