Auto firms collect security deposits

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    Car companies will begin charging security deposits on purchases of vehicles covered by the safeguard duties on imports.

    Separate advisories were issued last week by Toyota Motor Philippines Corp. and Isuzu Philippines Corp. on the charges that take effect today March 1.

    Honda Cars Philippines Inc. and Nissan Philippines Inc. are expected to come out with their advisories soon.

    The security deposit represents the cash bond slapped on certain imported passenger cars and light commercial vehicles amounting to P70,000 and P110,000, respectively, per Department Administrative Order (DAO) No. 20-11 of the Department of Trade and Industry. The provisional duties are imposed for 180 days effective Feb. 1, 2021 while the Tariff Commission is hearing a petition of the Philippine Metalworkers Association for additional protection against the surge of imports.

    Industry sources said companies had to be transparent in informing buyers of the price structure of the vehicles they are buying.

    This will help buyers make careful consideration in choosing between an import and a locally-assembled one.

    One of the sources said with this system in place, car companies could refund their buyers in case the TC overturns the DTI order.

    “Starting March 1, 2021, a security deposit shall be collected on every purchase of motor vehicles covered by DAO-20-11,” said TMP in its advisory.

    “Please be informed that due to the imposition of the provisional safeguard duty by the Philippine government we will be requiring additional customer deposits on top of the suggested retail prices effective March 1 (on) Isuzu Mu-X of P78,400 including value-added tax (VAT) and the Isuzu D-Max P123,200 including VAT“ IPC said in its advisory.

    Meanwhile, Laban Konsyumer Inc. president Vic Dimagiba said this is not reasonable and not a fair application of the safeguard measure law as the latter is supposed to penalize the importer and not the consumer.

    “Unless the car dealers absorb the safeguard duty or the law be amended to provide that at all times the safeguard duty should not be tacked on to the price of the imported goods, the safeguard measure law is conveniently circumvented to the prejudice of the consumers,” Dimagiba said in a statement.

    Dimagiba expressed doubt that traders, importers and manufacturers doubling as importers, will absorb for their own account the safeguard duty which is
    billed as a separate item from the price of the imported vehicle. (Irma Isip)