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Incentives eyed for local production of buses, jeeps

Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp. (MMPC) is in talks with the Board of Investments (BOI) for the creation of a CARS-like program that seeks to provide incentives to the private sector for manufacturing jeepneys and buses locally, a top official said.

Arlan Reyes, MMPC senior manager for marketing services, told reporters last week the company was in the midst of piecing together with government representatives the specifications for the yet-to-be named manufacturers’ program.

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The Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy program, or CARS, is an ambitious P27-billion government initiative that aims to grant incentives to car makers in order to produce a number of models here.

Last month, Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez already hinted at a CARS-like program for “people movers” or vehicles that could carry at least 22 people.

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Reyes said they were already in the process of gathering inputs from the private sector. He said the Truck Manufacturers Association (TMA), which MMPC is a part of, has participated in the talks.

“As a TMA member, we can provide the drive-train and the chassis. If I understand it correctly, BOI wants the body [of the vehicle] to be specific for the Philippines,” he said.

MMPC, along with competitor Toyota Motors Philippines Corp., is already registered under the CARS program.

While the specifics for the “people movers” were still being fine-tuned, Reyes said the BOI wanted a finished unit to cost P1 million, far cheaper than what Mitsubishi charges for its Rosa bus.

“What we currently have is the Rosa. The initial requirement of BOI is [for a unit to cost] around P1 million. That’s difficult to see for Rosa, which is around P3 million,” he said, adding that the bus comes in variants with seats ranging from 26 to 34.

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TAGS: Board of Investments (BOI), CARS-like program, jeepneys and buses, manufacturing, Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp. (MMPC)
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