EXPECT vehicles made in India to hit Philippine roads and compete with relatively affordable Chinese vehicles by next year.
India’s Ambassador to the Philippines Amit Dasgupta on Friday announced his country’s plans to establish a foothold in the Philippines for its booming automobile industry during a briefing at Dusit Thani Hotel in Makati City.
The announcement came weeks before the scheduled commemorative summit among members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and India to be held on Dec. 20-21 in New Delhi.
The event marks the 20th anniversary of the Asean-India dialogue partnership.
“Indian companies are very proud of what they do. What are expected by February or March are 100-percent Indian vehicles. But we are starting with only heavy-duty vehicles,” Dasgupta told reporters.
India is known for its Tata Nano car, the world’s cheapest car, a unit of which costs only $2500 when it was first launched in 2008.
Initially, India will set up subcontracted plants for its heavy-duty vehicles.
“The fact is the Philippines needs it. India will start to compete against Chinese vehicles and that will be the Philippines’ plus point,” said Johnny Chotrani, chair of the Philippines-India Business Council of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
He said buyers of vehicles will have a wider range of options to choose from.
“There is a plan to eventually expand this and include passenger cars. We are in a stage that India needs to know what the Philippines wants and Philippines needs to know what India has,” Chotrani said.
He also noted how these developments would create new investments and jobs in the Philippines.
“The Bureau of Investments has a policy that allows foreign companies to export its output, of which 60 percent is manufactured locally,” Chotrani said.
The Indian embassy and the Phil-India Business Council refused to divulge which among India’s automobile companies have plans to establish bases in the country. Niña P. Calleja