It is said that you can gauge the economic growth of a country through the number of construction cranes in the sky, and the number of commercial vehicles and trucks on the ground. These are now common sights in the Philippines, especially in Metro Manila, the seat of Philippine business. This must be good news.
The Philippines auto industry had a phenomenal growth last year as the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (CAMPI) reported a remarkable sales growth of 22.9 percent among its members, with 19.2-percent growth accounted by commercial vehicles and truck sales alone.
The biggest gainer among the top four car auto companies in the country was Isuzu Philippines Corporation that achieved an unprecedented 60-percent growth rate from 2014 to 2015. This growth validates the country’s position as the “it” country in Southeast Asia for economic growth and investment.
Centro Manufacturing Corporation, the largest truck body builder and truck conversion specialist in the country, hopes to ride the wave of this commercial vehicle growth. Centro, an ISO/TS 16949 certified truck bodybuilder, is the pioneer microbus manufacturer in the Philippines. It introduced the Isuzu iVan to the Philippine market to offer a rugged and versatile passenger van for the shuttle van market coupled with providing more seating capacity. The iVan is a truck conversion that Centro Manufacturing does using the ever reliable Isuzu NHR chassis cab that it converts into a one-piece shuttle van that can seat 18 people.
Centro Senior Sales Manager Vic Belisario said the Philippines is doing well economically, second only to economic powerhouse China in terms of economic growth. “We have breached the $3,000 mark in per capita GDP [gross domestic product], thus marking our entry into the ‘motorization’ phase. Based on the experience of many emerging markets, the demand for cars rises significantly whenever the per capita GDP breaches the $3,000 mark. The Philippines is now at the $3,279 level. Centro hopes to ride on the motorization and economic growth of the country.”
Centro Production Manager Edmund Navarro, who is in charge of the iVan factory in Cavite, said the Philippines actually has a high population but low vehicle ownership. “We have a motorization rate of only 35 cars per 1,000 people compared to Thailand which has 200 cars per 1,000 people. We also have a significant market potential as the number of households who can afford to buy vehicles increased from 26 percent to 36 percent. So there is actually a very big market potential out there waiting to be tapped.”
“We see that with the staggering growth of our partner Isuzu Philippines Corporation, who leads the way in the commercial vehicle category, we are optimistic that the demand for the Isuzu iVan will also grow,” he added.