Stick to existing CARS rules, industry asks gov’t
A vehicle industry leader has urged the government to ensure the “consistent policy implementation” of the Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS) program, as it would be unfair to existing participants if its provisions would be tweaked in the middle of the game.
Rommel Gutierrez, president of the Chamber of Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc., was reacting to proposals to downscale the requirements and incentives under the CARS program to fill in the third and last slot for the said incentive scheme.
According to Gutierrez, the presence of the two participants—Toyota Motor Philippines Corp. and Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp.—can already be considered “substantial compliance.” The two companies will be infusing an initial P8 billion to improve their respective assembly plants and produce 200,000 units each model entered to the program.
Toyota enrolled the Vios while Mitsubishi entered the Mirage.
“Our applications were filed in accordance with the requirements of the executive order and its implementing rules and regulations. We have set our plans and targets based on the conditions of the IRR. I think the EO and the IRR are clear enough as far as targets and conditions are concerned. If you change the conditions, that’s something else—that’s changing the rules midway,” said Gutierrez, who is also first vice president of Toyota.
The Department of Trade and Industry, however, is considering accepting one of the biggest automotive importers in the country as the third participant in the CARS program, as this company was reported to be looking at the Philippines as a possible production hub in the region.
“Given the strong growth of the economy and the continued consumer confidence as indicated by purchases of consumer durable and vehicles, (the Philippines) has attracted the serious consideration of global players who are already present in the country but in a limited way, meaning through marketing, selling and distribution,” a source privy to the matter told the Inquirer.
The source noted that the industry player wanting to set up an assembly operations in the Philippines can be a likely candidate for the government’s comprehensive CARS Program as the said company, given its strong domestic sales, could rival and compete against the Japanese automotive brands dominating the local market.
“I want that company to apply for the third slot under the CARS Program because I’ve seen their commitment. They used to be engaged only in the importation and distribution of vehicles and now they are considering to do assembly here. This company never had an assembly operations here and it’s possible that it will make the Philippines its regional hub,” the source added.
The source, however, declined to identify the said vehicle importer. Earlier this year, however, Hyundai Asia Resources Inc. (Hari), the exclusive distributor of Hyundai vehicles in the country, said the Philippines had been shortlisted by its parent firm as among the possible future sites for either an assembly operations or an automotive parts manufacturing facility.
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