BIZ BUZZ: Biggest Japan trip winner
At a projected value of P4.4 billion for its local production line, the deal announced by Toyota Motor Philippines looks relatively small in the total $13-billion investment haul of President Marcos Jr. from his Japan trip last week.
Yet there is no arguing that this plan to revive the iconic Toyota Tamaraw line—known for its durability and reliability since its first incarnation in the late 1970s to early 1980s, to its second life in the 1990s—has generated the most buzz among all the deals announced during the Chief Executive’s official visit to Tokyo.
And even though it will take five years for the new Tamaraw to hit local streets, it’s already a marketing winner this early.
“The concept of the new vehicle is multipurpose, really designed to support SMEs,” Toyota Motor Philippines chair Alfred Ty told Biz Buzz. “It could be a cargo van, it can be a people mover and can be a food truck, all convertible in the same day.”
“It will be a real workhorse,” he added. “And what better way to describe this than the Tamaraw.”
Don’t expect the new Toyota vehicle to be as basic and spartan as its earlier editions though. Our friends in Toyota hint that the future Tamaraw will be developed with modern technology in its body form as well as in its internal features.
Specifically, it will be “connected-device ready,” especially for a global positioning system.
And why did Toyota decide to revive the Tamaraw line rather than just launch the vehicle under a new name?
“Tamaraw is near and dear to Filipinos,” one insider said. “It’s been the vehicle of choice and has become a genre in itself. Tapping into the brand equity makes sense.”
The key for Toyota, we’re told, is to keep production costs manageable to ensure that the new Tamaraw will be competitive with the offerings of other manufacturers around the region.
But this early, it already sounds like a winner.
—Daxim L. Lucas
Speaking of which …
While tycoon Alfred Ty was busy sealing the Toyota Tamaraw deal in Tokyo along with the official party of President Marcos, he received word from Manila that was enough to make a few hearts sink.
As was reported by our friends in Inquirer Golf, one participant in last week’s Golden Tee tournament at the Manila Golf and Country Club blasted his golf ball in the wrong direction, hitting a nearby luxury car that was supposed to be one of the prizes for players who could score a hole-in-one on the 16th hole.
“The player duck-hooked his tee-shot on the water-laced hole, hitting the right front door of the Lexus ES 300 Executive hybrid worth P3.838 million that was parked a few meters away just right beside the shed,” Inquirer Golf reported, adding that the errant shot left a deep and very visible dent on the passenger door. In fact, had it hit a few inches higher, the ball would have smashed the passenger side window.
We checked with our friends in Lexus and, thankfully, the car was insured against damage (just as the cost of hole-in-one prize cars are insured, in case one player is extremely lucky that day). We’re just not sure how they’ll explain it to the insurers that they need to replace a door panel on the Lexus.
In any case, Biz Buzz asked our Manila Golf friends and all of them pointed to the culprit as former Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima as the man who “left his mark” on the luxury vehicle.
It’s a good thing that Ty was in a good mood amid the excitement generated by the Toyota Tamaraw deal, as he supposedly replied “no worries” to the very apologetic former Finance chief.
—Daxim L. Lucas
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.