Ford is not yet ready to reinvest in car manufacturing in the Philippines despite the government’s Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS) Program, the company said Wednesday.
“There are a lot of programs that countries are implementing to really encourage local manufacturing and I think the challenge all manufacturers have, Ford being one of them, is that if you were to comply in every country’s new regulations, we’ll never have a viable business. So obviously we have a little bit of what makes the most sense and we continue to evaluate that going forward,” Mark Kaufman, president of Ford Asean told reporters during re-opening of Ford EDSA.
For Kay Hart, managing director of Ford Philippines said that “CARS is a great program and we are fully supportive of the government in terms of its approach in building manufacturing. It’s obviously just not something that right now is appropriate for Ford’s standpoint here in the Philippines.”
According to Hart, the Philippines has the second biggest sales volume next to Thailand among ASEAN markets.
Kaufmann said, “When you look at the Philippines, it is really within Ford’s larger Asean market.
“There’s really two that stand out in terms of market performance. Philippines is doing quite well. Their market share is close to 8% and Vietnam also is doing quite well. So I think those two markets, they stand out,” he said.
“We have a great opportunity to grow, so if you just look at the segmentation within the Philippines, it really suits the Ford’s portfolio strengths really well. For example, the Ranger [light truck model]is doing exceptionally well here,” he added.
Kaufmann explained that Ford look at two things. “We look at industry size. For industry size, Philippines is still quite small compared to some of the other markets. Thailand has pulled back quite a bit this year but even at this point the industry, depending on which forecast you look at, is still about two times larger, two and a half times larger than the Philippines. But when we look at share performance, both the Philippines and Vietnam stand out as being strong share performers,” he said.
“I think I would say the share in the market is gaining, if you look at 2012 it was just a little bit over five percent share and give or take a bit, we’re running 7 or 8 percent here today. So within ASEAN, it’s actually been a strong market,” he added.
Hart said there are five SUVs in the Philippine market. “We have the Ecosport, the Escape, the Explorer, we have the all new Everest coming, and obviously we have the Expedition. So we have right from the mini SUV to the full-sized large SUV, we’ve got it covered,” she said.
“We’ve got the new Ranger, which as you know is the number one pickup segment here in the Philippines. It’s what we call a mid-cycle change. We launched it earlier this year in Bangkok at the Bangkok Motor show and we’ll start deliveries late this month or early next month,” she said.
But she added that growth is definitely mainly found in Ecosport and the Ranger. “With Ranger, we’re up at around 25 percent year-on-year and that’s what we say record sales in 2014. In the Ecosport, just month-to-month we’re up to 200 something percent so we just had in July our record number of 833.”
Hart said in keeping the Ford competitive edge in the country, “We will continue to invest in our products, dealers and in our facilities. So we’re expanding our facilities. We’re moving into areas within the Visayas and Mindanao and Northern Luzon to try and help with convenience so there’s a huge amount of investment going on here in the Philippines with our dealers in terms of becoming more convenient and being more accessible for Filipino customers especially as we grow so much. We just want to make sure that we give a great experience for them,” she said.