By Madelaine B. Miraflor
Toyota Motor Philippines Corp. (TMP), the largest automotive firm in the Philippines, is looking to produce more cars this year, but the company’s top official admitted it is going to be hard to book higher sales as the worsening traffic congestion helps dampen buyer sentiment.
TMP Senior Vice-President Luis Marcelino said the company is looking to produce 53,669 units of cars this year in its manufacturing plant in Santa Rosa City, Laguna, which is higher than the 44,000 units it built last year. Sixty percent of this is the company’s best-selling vehicle brand, Vios.
Year-to-date, the company already built around 39,932 units. For this year, TMP has pegged its sales target at 165,000 units and according to the firm’s president, Satoru Suzuki, it will be very challenging to achieve this.
“We are not optimistic but we are now challenged how to achieve it,” Suzuki said.
This is a combination of many factors, he said, including, but not entirely, the congestion being experienced now across Metro Manila.
“The traffic situation is giving some negative sentiment to customers,” Suzuki said.
From January to September, TMP has already sold 114,117 sales, up 4 percent from last year. With only less than three months left for this year, the more realistic target for Suzuki is for his company to be able to sell 155,000 units, which is still higher than the 153,000 cars sold last year.
TMP Assistant Vice President Elijah Sue Marcial said that for Vios alone, the sales are still concentrated in Metro Manila, but the firm’s car dealership network outside the metropolis is also expanding, especially in Region 3, 4, and 7. “It’s [sales] starting to spread out,” Marcial said.
TMP has just recently completed its capacity expansion, which was done under the Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS) Program.
Suzuki said the company invested a total of P5.38 billion in CARS not only to enhance his company’s local production capabilities, but ultimately help revitalize vehicle and parts manufacturing in the country.
TMP’s CARS investments include the local parts production of the Toyota Vios at the Resin Injection Molding Facility for bumpers and instrument panels, Roller- Hemming Robots at the welding line, and the newly-inaugurated A0 Press Line for stamping of side member panels.
Through strong collaboration, TMP and its suppliers were able to produce the Toyota Vios with greater local content, specifically for big body shell and large plastic parts that have a very complex nature of production. Currently, localization ratio is at 58 percent.