Japan carmaker, PH firm team up for CARS

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JAPANESE automotive parts maker Metaltech Co. Ltd. has partnered with local auto parts maker Roberts Automotive and Industrial Parts Manufacturing Corp (AIPMC) to apply for the government’s Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS) Program.

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The CARS Program seeks to incentivize car and auto parts manufacturers to boost the local automotive industry.

In a statement, Metaltech said it signed a technical assistance agreement with Roberts AIPMC recently, which is the first partnership intended for the CARS Program.

Under the agreement, both parties aim to boost local manufacturing capability and generate more jobs through technology transfer. The partnership will result in a joint design and production of new automotive parts needed.

Roberts AIPMC executive vice president Eddie Gallor said that the local firm will spend more than P100 million for the first phase of the agreement, while their Japanese partner will provide the expertise and technology needed to produce “top-notch” and “world-class” auto parts.

He said product development of the two companies will start this year but the actual mass production of auto parts will kick off in 2017.

“MetalTech has been in the business for 93 years. We have the saying, ‘Why reinvent the wheel?’ The technology is already there. So it is best to invite specialists who are willing to transfer the technology from Japan to the Philippines,” Gallor said.

For his part, Metaltech president Ryuichi Yajima said: “The technologies we will provide are certainly cultivated and acquired throughout our long business and manufacturing history, and we have experienced incalculable guidance from our customers.”

“I am considering this technical assistance to have one meaning, and that is we have a chance to give back our technical guidance experience for society’s advancement,” Yajima added.

Signed by President Benigno Aquino III in June 2015 under Executive Order 182, the CARS Program aims to elevate the country into a regional automotive manufacturing hub by encouraging new investments, stimulating demand, and implementing industry regulations.

The program aims to develop not just local car manufacturing but also the parts-making capability of automotive industry.

The government will give monetary incentives to car and car parts makers who applied for the program with a budget of P27 billion for three model units for the first year, which is 2016.

So far, Toyota Motors Philippines Corp. and Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp. have
already expressed interest to join the CARS Program, applying their volume models Vios and Mirage, respectively.

Toyota is putting down more than 1 billion yen (P413.4 million) for the first two years of the program as preparation, while Mitsubishi is estimating to allocate P3 billion for the program.

The submission of entrees for the CARS Program beneficiaries will run from the last week of January to March 15.

For the auto parts, Ferdinand Raquelsantos, president of Philippine Parts Maker Association (PPMA), earlier said that aside from the Metaltech-Roberts AIPMC deal, the group sees 35 more joint ventures and technical assistance agreements to be formed in the first two years of the CARS Program.

This, in turn, will jack up job opportunities in the auto sector by 60 percent, employing about 120,000 workers throughout the CARS Program from the existing 70,000 employees in the entire auto industry at present, Raquelsantos said.

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