PH auto sector left in the dust in terms of regional sales

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07:27 PM January 12th, 2014

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By: Amy R. Remo, January 12th, 2014 07:27 PM

The Philippine automotive sector continues to lag behind its Southeast Asian neighbors in terms of vehicle sales and production.

Latest data from the Asean Automotive Federation showed that, as of end-November 2013, the Philippines ranked fourth among seven countries belonging to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, as it sold only 164,098 motor vehicles from January to November. The Philippines was way behind Thailand, which sold the most number of vehicles at 1.2 million units.

Indonesia had the second highest number of cars sold in the first 11 months of 2013 at 1.1 million units, followed by Malaysia, at 595,300 units. Vietnam, Singapore and Brunei meanwhile sold 87,017 units, 30,453 units and 17,174 units, respectively, during the same period.

For motorcycles and scooters, Indonesia posted the highest sales at 7.2 million units from January to November. It was followed by Thailand, which sold 1.88 million units. The Philippines was far behind with 677,101 units.

Among five countries rated in terms of motor vehicle production, the Philippines remained at the bottom, producing only 73,558 units as of end-November.

According to the Asean Automotive Federation, Thailand led the way, producing 2.3 million motor vehicles from January to November. It was followed by Indonesia with 1.1 million units. Malaysia’s motor vehicle production meanwhile reached 548,420 units, while Vietnam produced a total of 83,656 units during the same period.

Heftier investments are expected to be poured into the Philippine automotive sector once the government issues the much awaited automotive roadmap. But delays have hampered its release as the economic managers sought for more data to justify the new or additional incentives to be given to the sector.

Trade Secretary Gregory L. Domingo said last month that the roadmap could be issued in the first quarter of this year.

Domingo had said that, with the buildup of a supply chain, the Philippines would gain a competitive edge in the region.

For instance, one company from Taiwan has put up a local facility for plastic molding, not primarily for the purpose of servicing the automotive sector. But it can be tapped later on by the sector, the Trade chief said. Another Japanese firm is reportedly setting up shop that can supply parts for automotive firms.

The only investments lacking, Domingo said, are for facilities for steel stamping for large parts. The target is to attract at least one or two firms that can do large parts metal stamping, he added.

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