Local parts makers has recently sought for the immediate for the approval of the Auto Industry Roadmap, saying that there is a “need for directions” to attain more progress.
The Motor Vehicle Parts Manufacturers Association of the Philippines (MVPMAP)–an organization of about 125 local auto parts makers in the country–claimed that auto industry roadmap is expected to provide clearer short, medium and long term directions for the local auto industry, which would include the local auto parts sub-industry and the alternative fuel vehicle (AFV) sub-industry such as the emerging electric vehicles segment.
In a statement, MVPMAP is hoping tthat local vehicle manufacturers couldparticipate more strongly in the growing Philippine auto market.
According to MVPMAP President Ferdinand Raquelsantos, given the right clear-cut directions, incentives and business environment, some car manufacturers who have local manufacturing in the country are currently “contemplating on expanding their operations in the country.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for the Philippines auto industry which employs some 70,000 highly skilled workers, including those in upstream and downstream sectors. And this has a multiplier effect of 3.6 per employee, one of the highest in the manufacturing sector”, he said.
Raquelsantos also said that in many developing countries, the automotive industry is usually one of the backbones of their manufacturing industry. “In the Philippines, this is not the case”, he claimed.
For his part, MVPMAP Vice President for External Affairs Rommel Juan pointed out that the car manufacturers have now reached a tipping point.
“They are now at a crossroad, poised to decide exactly when and where to expand to serve the growing needs of the local and the Asian market. They need to make concrete and firm decisions now as the year 2013 draws to a close and we usher in 2014,” Juan said.
“We have missed the boat several times already in the past and this has resulted in our auto industry being left behind by our Asian neighbours. Even Vietnam, the new kid on the block, is poised to overtake us. It is a pity since in the past, we were the forerunner in the auto industry in the region,” he added.
He cited that twenty years ago, the country missed the same opportunity that is being enjoyed by Thailand. “Then ten years ago, we missed it once again as it went to China.
“If we do not get our acts together and finally approve our local auto industry roadmap, we will again miss the boat which is set to sail now to Indonesia,” he explained.
Further, Juan expressed belief that the country could gain the foreign investments that would help expand local production of vehicles in country.
The move would be the local auto parts making and AFV industries’ “much-needed shot in the arm.”
“We stand to double the jobs generated by the auto industry to about 140,000 people. And these jobs will be as sustainable as service industries like BPOs and retail,” he said.
“Investments will also be more tangible as it will entail hard investments in real estate, capital equipment and raw materials that will be needed when factories are expanded”, Juan stated.
Moreover, Raquelsantos referred to the regional automotive industry as a boat looking for a dock.
“Let us not miss the boat this time around. It may take years again before the boat ever decides to make its next voyage. By then, it may be too late for our ailing auto industry,” he said. RUBEN D. MANAHAN 4TH