HONDA Cars Philippines Inc. (HCPI) has announced that all current vehicles in their line-up and for sale at their dealerships are ready for Euro 4 emissions certification.
“While we at Honda promise to provide customers with new and exciting products, Honda always keeps in mind our commitment to offer vehicles that are engineered to maintain a clean and green environment. We are one with the government’s endeavor to help protect and sustain our environment and do our part to ensure breathable clean air,” HCPI President and General ManagerToshio Kuwahara said this week.
“We have applied for official Euro 4 certification of conformity for the City [model], which we have updated, and we are expecting it be approved very soon. And eventually we will apply for all vehicles because we are ready. It’s just a matter of application. We started introducing Euro 4-level vehicles more than 10 years ago, and since 2007, all Honda vehicles sold in this country are already at the Euro 4 emission level,” he said.
According to the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources (DENR), fuel complying with the Euro 4 standard is limited to a sulfur content of just 50 parts per million (ppm) for both diesel and gasoline, compared with a 500 ppm limit for the earlier Euro 2 standard.
In addition, benzene in Euro 4-compliant gasoline is restricted to no more than 1 percent by volume, compared to 5 percent for Euro 2.
Aromatic compounds are likewise restricted to 35 percent by volume in Euro 4 fuel, whereas the earlier standard prescribed no limit.
Honda’s application to certify the City has been given to Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), which is under the DENR.
Kuwahara said that by January 2016, all Honda vehicles, from the smallest Brio to the Odyssey minivan, including the latest model HR-V launched on Tuesday, would be officially certified as Euro 4 compliant.
The HR-V was Honda’s third new product launch for 2015, following the carmaker’s premium minivan, Odyssey, in March, and the Multi-purpose Utility Vehicle, Mobilio in April.
Sales on the rise
In term of sales, Honda recorded a significant increase in May with 1,491 unit sales.
“This is an 11 percent increase from April and a 63 percent increase compared to the same month in 2014. Year to date, we improved our sales by 43 percent compared to the same period last year,” Kuwahara said.
He said that City is the best-selling Honda model, averaging 700 units a month, almost 50 percent of total monthly sales for Honda.
‘Road map’ welcomed
Last week, the long-awaited Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS) Program, the so-called “road map” for the Philippine auto industry, was launched through Executive Order (EO) 182 signed by President Benigno Aquino 3rd.
Kuwahara welcomed the attention from the government and the President Aquino to stimulate the local automotive industry, but said that more details were still to come.
“The EO has just been released last week and I think to think about it in detail, you have to wait for the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) to be released. Because you know EO is like the concept of the new regulations to be implemented and for the details we have to wait,” he said.
But Honda chief in the Philippines has concern regarding the road map’s production benchmark of 200,000 units in six years.
“Based on the concept that was released last week by EO 182, especially looking at the 200,000 bar in six years, we have to say it is not easy for us to be applicable to the CARS program because we are just selling 9,000 units now. And you know that to cope with 200,000 in six years the average per year must be 34,000 units. So it’s not easy for us so far according to the EO. I expect that the IRR will give us more flexibility in terms of volume, [and]number of models,” Kuwahara said.
Under the CARS program the government will offer about $600 million incentives to attract car companies to start manufacturing vehicles in the country.
“That’s why for us to see whether that amount is something attractive or worthwhile to invest in, we have to see the details of the IRR,” Kuwahara said.
“Aside from our position as a CAMPI member, I personally would favor or think it better that government would stimulate not us as a manufacturer but the Filipino as a consumer to be able to buy Filipino products easier. Because when I sell one unit of City or any car that we sell, excise tax is imposed and VAT is also imposed. If government can think about releasing or doing something about tax benefits or something else for locally manufactured vehicles, it should help people.
People should start buying not imported cars, but locally-manufactured cars, and I think that will stimulate the whole local automotive industry for all players, rather than just limiting to few models or few brands,” he added.