Campi chief sees better times ahead for auto industryBy Charles E. Buban
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Now that months ending in “ber” have begun, the country’s car industry only needs to sell 59,662 units to be at par with last year’s sales performance of 165,056 units.
Based on the combined January to July figures of the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of Philippines Inc. (Campi) and the Association of Vehicle Imports and Distributors, total number of units sold now reached 105,394.
“Because of the industry’s strong showing during the first seven months, Campi has in fact revised its forecast and predicts that the industry total will hit record-breaking sales of 185,000 units, up from the previous forecast of 175,000 to 180,000,” announced Campi president Rommel Gutierrez during the recent 2012 Campi Motor Show Media Awards night held at Kabisera ng Dencio’s in Bonifacio High Street, Taguig City.
The Inquirer Motoring was declared overall winner of the event after dominating several categories: Best Motor Show Coverage-Print; Best Motor Show Story (Tessa Salazar); Best Opinion Column on the Motor Show (Botchi Santos); and Best Environment Story on the Motor Show by this writer.
Other winners were DZRJ’s Inside Motoring of Eggay Quesada and Matt Montoya (Best Motor Show Coverage-Broadcast); Interaksyon.com (Best Motor Show Coverage-Online); Manila Times (Best Motoring Page on the Motor Show); Brent Co of Autoindustriya.com (Best Motor Show Photo); Gerald Chua of Kotse.com (Best Front Page Story on the Motor Show); Jonathan Cellona of BusinessWorld (Best Front Page Story on the Motor Show), Ben Arnold de Vera of Interaksyon.com (Best Business Story on the Motor Show) and Dinzo Tabamo of Topgear.com.ph (Best Blog on the Motor Show)
“Thanks to the full support of these winners as well as the rest of the local motoring media, Campi is declaring the recently held 4th Philippines International Motor Show a success, after over 50,000 visitors trooped to the four-day event staged at the World Trade Center in Pasay City last August 16-19,” Gutierrez said.
Gutierrez, who is also Toyota Motor Philippines vice president, said the public’s desire to “experience a world-class motor show that showcased the latest in automotive technology and motoring trends without having to set foot on foreign soil” strengthened Campi members’ resolve to make each of the motor show a biennial spectacle.
“The public is also now more confident in buying new cars as evidenced by the strong sales of our members. Indeed, PIMS’s recent success is a clear sign that the industry is on the road to recovery and to achieving its goals,” Gutierrez said.
Campi VP and Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp. first vice president Dante Santos agreed, informing the motoring media that automotive road maps—which would provide both fiscal and non-fiscal incentives to the industry—are now being discussed with the Board of Investments.
“The country’s free trade agreements relating to the automotive industry should be revised in such a way that it should be more meaningful and responsive to what the industry needs now and this includes the current Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (Jpepa),” Santos said.
Isuzu Philippines Corp. VP for Corporate Business Arthur Balmadrid added that the road map should be given priority in order to further convince principals not to transfer operations elsewhere while at the same time assure that talented Filipino workers will continue to have jobs thanks to models that are locally manufactured or assembled.
Since local assemblers are active in the segment of vehicles with 3 liters and below displacements, Campi is proposing that Jpepa retain the 20 percent tariffs. A much lower tariff, Campi believes, would pose competition on the local players. The Jpepa currently provides that cars with three liters and above displacements enjoy zero tariff.