TAIPEI, Taiwan: With domestic automotive sales experiencing a modest growth of 4.0 percent as of the January 2018, the industry’s outlook is optimistic despite the implementation of the new Tax Reform law.
Data from the Truck Manufacturer’s Association (TMA) show industry wide sales were gradually picking up with 386 units sold. Category four Heavy Duty Truck and Bus sales totaled 299 units sold and category five Heavy Duty Trucks and Buses reflected a sales figure of 141 units. Although sales figures were a bit slow in comparison with sales during the same period last year, the TMA remains adamant that truck and bus sales will pick up by the second quarter of this year.
It is with this strong sales figure from the TMA that encourages new players to invest in the local truck segment. One such player is DAF trucks of Netherlands. Considered as a dominant player in the European and Middle East markets, DAF is out to establish a strong presence in the Philippines. With an 8,000 square meter showroom and maintenance facility being put up in Cabuyao, Laguna, DAF is gradually carving a profitable presence locally having sold 20 units of CF and XF variants late last year.
Their heavy duty trucks are currently being used by multinational companies nationwide for its cargo and hauling services.
“We call it baby steps. DAF has only been here for a few months and so far, we are happy with the progress of the company,” said Aaron Go, managing partner of DAF PH.
Recently, DAF organized a familiarization tour of its Taiwan facility, which is the biggest plant of the company outside of Netherlands. Situated in Da-Du Taiwan, the Japanese-designed truck assembly and manufacturing facility churns out five trucks a day. DAF Taiwan is a subsidiary of Formosa Plastics Corp. (FPC), the world’s fifth largest chemical company in terms of sales. FPC is also one of the biggest publicly-listed companies in the world according to Forbes Global 2000. Formosa has an extensive and diverse portfolio of products ranging from plastics, textile, steel manufacturing, precious metals, electronics, shipping, medical equipment, education, and automotive manufacturing, which is represented by Formosa Automobile Sales Corp. (FASC).
In 2005, FASC formed a partnership with Dutch truck manufacturer DAF, because both had similar corporate values based on “Diligence, Frugality, Excellence, Sustainable Operations, and Dedication to Society.”
DAF, on the other hand, is a formidable force in the truck industry since it was founded by brothers Hub and Wim van Doorne in 1928. Known for its reliability, durability and class leading comforts, DAF was absorbed by PACCAR, which owns American truck brands such as Kenworth and Peterbilt.
The DAF facility sits on a 30,000-square meter lot, whose office and plant structures were designed by a Japanese architect whose aim is to maximize efficiency with an “open space“theme design. FASC assembles DAF trucks in this Da-Du facility for both domestic and the export markets such as the Philippines.
According to Go, completing a whole truck takes 100 man-hours and FASC assembles at least five units a day or around 900 trucks annually. The facility assembles DAF’s full truck range, from the LF, CF and the XF, plus a customization department that can customize a truck in accordance with the client’s requirements. “Here, we can customize the paint, put on additional safety equipment such as rear, side and front cameras, plus Alcoa chrome wheels,” added YC Cheng, assistant vide president for Formosa Plastics Transport Corp.
“One of our biggest clients is Formosa, of which, we have already sold them 5,000 trucks already for its plastics business,” said Cheng. This enabled DAF to improve their trucks design and mechanical bit to suit the Asian market.
“This includes replacing some parts with stainless steel due to the rainy season, extreme tropical weather conditions and how Asians maximize the payload capacity of the trucks,” added Cheng. DAF trucks intended for the local market will be from imported directly from its Da-Du plant.
DAF partnered with Pioneer Trucks Parts and Equipment Corp. (PTPEC) as it’s exclusive distributor for the Philippine market. With PACCAR brands already under PTPEC’s wings, DAF is a welcome addition to its truck line-up such as Peterbilt and Kenworth trucks.
According to Go, another DAF showroom is being constructed in Davao.
With truck hauling and cargo services as the backbone of Philippine business and commerce, DAF’s entry into the local scene is strategic, and will enable the expansion of delivery goods and services. DAF Ph will offer the full line-up, with an extensive and assured availability of parts and services. Go also revealed that DAF Ph will offer brand new and refurbished trucks as well.
PHOTOS BY DINO RAY V. DIRECTO III