LAUNCHES HYBRID CROSSOVER: Auto market leader says industry needs support


    The automotive industry is seeking support from the government to survive the slump and still be able to pursue manufacturing.

    Rommel Gutierrez, president of the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc. (Campi) expressed concern over the survival of the automotive industry which he said is a very important contributor to the country’s GDP.

    Gutierrez said the industry is challenged following the 50 percent slump in sales as of July, with two major manufacturers particularly under pressure to meet the requirements set forth by the Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS)

    “Because of the slowdown in sales, the local manufacturing specifically of the Vios (of Toyota Motor Philippines Corp.) and Mirage (of Mitsubishi Motor Philippines Corp. or TMP) enrolled under CARS are badly hit. With all these negative impact (of the pandemic), there is a threat the participants may not be able to achieve the target volumes,” said Gutierrez, senior vice president of TMP.

    Campi has asked the Department of Trade and Industry for “appropriate measures” for the industry, particularly those engaged in manufacturing.

    CARS, he said, is just one the many issues that the industry is facing to sustain competitiveness.

    “We think at this time it is appropriate to review the policies and the conditions of the government… so we could maintain local production and still be competitive among brands and in Asean in particular,” Gutierrez added.

    Meanwhile, TMP yesterday unveiled its first hybrid crossover model with the launch of the Corolla Cross, a leap into the mainstream as it expands its hybrid electronic vehicle lineup in the country.

    TMP president Atsuhiro Okamoto said the company hopes to tap the rising segment of the market that is shifting from sedan to sport utility vehicle (SUV).

    Toyota gave its bestselling model a a sleek and modern crossover, with a hybrid variant for those aiming for sustainability in their mobility.

    Okamoto said Corolla Cross shares the Corolla structure, including parts, which enables competitive pricing.

    Gutierrez, said the favorable excise tax on hybrid as well as the zero tariff in Asean also enable the company to offer the model at competitive price. Corolla Cross is imported from Thailand.

    The company targets to sell 100 units of the Corolla Cross and will be available starting August 26.