How PNoy’s team can make it better for motorists | Inquirer Business

How PNoy’s team can make it better for motorists

/ 03:18 AM March 09, 2011

EVERYONE in the motoring industry is quite happy right now, sales-wise. After selling 172,000 plus cars last year, bonuses are flying, events are outstanding and for the consumer, promos and discounts are just unbelievably good.

I was at a luxury car dealership waiting for my ride after returning a test-unit, and some of the big bosses were discussing sales figures and prices, trying to figure out how to out-sell and out-maneuver their key luxury brand rivals in the sedan, SUV and sports car segments. Definitely a nice problem indeed, instead of worrying about how they will sell cars languishing in the dealership stock yard.

But before we all get Hubris and drink ourselves drunk with success, glory, bonuses and what-not, let’s look at some key issues the industry and the government needs to address.


Safety and security. The government needs to beef up their safety and security in all public places to deter car theft and would-be car thieves. I know of a handful of highly suspected car thieves, with a wide variety of ever-changing cars parked right outside their houses in upscale subdivisions and which keep changing regularly. How can criminals like these keep going around, flamboyantly displaying their ill-gotten wealth? We must be like Egypt, where crocodiles are scared then? But there is hope. Like Egypt, the masses will eventually run out of patience for these sacred crocodiles.


Proper taxation of all imported vehicles. Right now, based on various conversations with principals of luxury brands, the Bureau of Customs seems like it is full of not just crooks, but idiots as well. The BOC bases their import tax rates on the Kelley Blue Book or other similar third-party, non-government or even non-industry, purely consumer-related price guides in the US and Europe. The problem is, these consumer-based books list the full suggested retail price on the open market, not the actual freight-on-board value of the cars in shipment with supporting invoices and receipts from the factory or manufacturer of these cars.

Obviously, importers have a significant discount on these brand-new cars when bought in bulk or batches. They generate jobs and contribute taxes to the local economy. Why should they be taxed so stiffly? You can levy this tax rate based on KBB values on grey-market importers, but certainly not with a proper established importer. If luxury cars from the US and Europe were taxed the way they should be taxed, which is based on invoiced amounts issued by the factory or the manufacturer directly rather than relying on a cheap U$5.00 guide, my assumption is that the local SRP of these vehicles will drop by 15 percent to 25 percent. That means Accord-Camry-Teana man can afford a BMW 3-Series / Merc C-Class / Audi A4 / Lexus IS / ES sedans. Who wouldn’t want that?

Proper coordination with the Bureau of Customs, the Land Transportation Office and the PNP-Highway Patrol Group. You can physically bring in a car, get it out of Customs without paying taxes, then get legitimate LTO registration papers fraudulently sourced then drive them on the road. Last year, rumors have it that an entire stash of blank OR/CR forms measuring about 6 inches thick went missing in the LTO office. Six inches is, by my estimate, at least 1,500 sets of OR/CR forms. These OR/CR forms form part of a series, numbered individually. Supposedly, these missing forms are being used by smugglers and car thieves in laundering “hot” cars. Yet, on the other hand, a car owner who buys a car from a dealership has to wait almost half a year for plates and conduction stickers. Why is the government allowing this to happen?

What’s worse is that oftentimes these legitimate car buyers are given a permit to travel valid only for 10 days, and if it expires, police and MMDA traffic enforcers hassle these car owners. The blame is not on the police officers or MMDA guys since they are simply enforcing the law. The problem is with the LTO and obviously inefficient system. I give them the benefit of the doubt that they are trying their best. But really, as Sean Connery said in the movie “The Rock,” losers whine about giving their best. You can give your best but if you fail epically, you should step down as an entire nation is depending on you, where your best simply isn’t good enough.

Last but not least, to the manufacturers. Please, stop selling us garbage. We know what’s on the other side of the world, we know what cars they drive. And we know some grey-import variants arrive in our local shores. Bring us better, faster, safer cars. Bring us nicer-looking cars, more desirable cars. Bring us truly global cars. P-Noy driving a Porsche, despite what critics say, is I believe a promising start to us all driving better cars. Look at the UK. The current Prime Minister, David Cameron, purportedly drives a Ferrari F599 GTB Fiorano as they all have nice, interesting cars to drive in ol’ Blighty.

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TAGS: Car Theft, Motoring, Trade

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