After a challenging year that saw the upward momentum of the car industry interrupted by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, automotive leader Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) said it is more than ready to do its part in helping move the country forward this 2021.
Despite the lowering of 2020 sales projections across the automotive sector due to prolonged lockdowns and limitations in physical movements, TMP has reported several bright spots indicating industry resilience and showing promise of recovery.
“Even though the past year has been challenging, the market has shown incredible resilience and was able to achieve 242,000 in sales,” said TMP President Atsuhiro Okamoto. “That being said, I am pleased to announce that TMP was able to achieve 100,019 unit sales in 2020, with an expanded share of the market at 41.3%,” he added.
TMP Chairman Alfred Ty shared this optimism, citing efforts from the government and industry partners all contributing to improvements in market conditions and the overall environment for both businesses and the consumers.
“While the automotive industry as a whole may have seen challenging sales at the onset of the pandemic, we also saw gradual growth from the lowest point in May. We expect this increase to continue as Filipinos ease back into their daily routines and resume pursuing the life goals that had to take a backseat in 2020,” said Ty.
Ty is positive that currently, the economy is improving, and that businesses will recover in due time.
“Every week there are new developments regarding a COVID-19 vaccine and while this may not be the be-all and end-all solution to this pandemic, it is a welcome development and a sign that progress is happening earlier than expected,” said Ty.
“Also on the brighter side of things, the “Build, Build, Build” project of the government and the private sector is coming into fruition. We commend the continuous construction of these new roads and highways which will enable economic recovery efforts and bring more joy to driving,” Ty added.
TMP’s top executives also welcomed recent pronouncements by Board of Investments (BOI) officials regarding the possibility of extending the Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS) Program in consideration of the impact of the pandemic on car manufacturing and sales.
“We thank the government for considering the extension of the CARS Program. This is very crucial for the existence of local production not only for the existing players but also in attracting additional investment in the industry. In this business of the automotive industry, where the market is still at a growing stage and lower-priced vehicles dominate new cars sold, the key to survival is volume. Economies of Scale is much needed to make investments sustainable, whether a Completely Built-Up (CBU) or Completely Knocked Down (CKD) player or both.” said Ty.
Speaking about the healthy balance of TMP’s CBU and CKD business, TMP President Okamoto also addressed the most recent issue to affect not just car companies but also the entire supply chain of the local car manufacturing sector. Okamoto emphasizes TMP’s position as a major player for both CBU and CKD operations.
“With the recent announcement of Safeguard duties, market recovery will be adversely affected and growth may be much more limited, as early as when provisional duties are implemented.
As you know, however, TMP operates on the basis of a combination of locally-produced and imported vehicles. We will maximize efforts to promote sales of our Vios and Innova to cushion the impact of safeguard duties. We are counting on the support of Filipinos to buy Filipino,” said Okamoto.
Toyota’s vast and diverse line-up of vehicles is mostly composed of imported CBU models, but TMP is optimistic of the opportunity that can open for its locally-manufactured vehicles – the Vios and Innova.
“We are thankful for the government’s initiative to promote local production. However, the automotive industry is driven by volume and motivated by a wide range of choices. A mix of imported CBU models will still be needed to be able to meet the mobility needs of the country. We are confident that we will find ways to move forward as we have always done. Together with the government, we are excited to work towards realizing our vision of providing mobility for all,” Okamoto added.
In the end, TMP believes that as the largest mobility company in the Philippines, it has the responsibility to help push the local automotive industry forward and steer the country towards economic recovery.
Citing a statement from Toyota Motor Corporation President Akio Toyoda, TMP Chairman Ty stressed the automotive industry’s role as the backbone of every country’s economy.
“The automotive industry provides mobility for all of us. And when we talk of the automotive industry, this does not only cover vehicle production and sales, but it includes parts, logistics, and public transportation,” said Ty.
“Mobility brings us a new wind, a change in landscape and, most importantly, it brings us closer to tomorrow. This 2021, I hope we can continue to support each other as we brave the challenges and seize the opportunities the new year will bring,” Ty added.