AS the Philippines auto industry sales is poised for another record breaking year, Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp. (MMPC) is looking forward to a rapid growth of the auto industry in the very near future.
The Philippine auto industry has currently grown 23 percent and more likely to exceed the 200,000 as earlier forecasted by the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc (Campi) and Truck Manufacturers Association (TMA).
MMPC sales performance is also in the same growth trend with the industry, expanding 25.6 percent compared to the same period last year and is also likely to surpass the highest record established in 1996 which was at 36,533 units.
MMPC is on track as it was able to sell 4,063 vehicles in May which is an all-time high for the company.
Last year MMPC sold 34,915 vehicles, which is the 2nd highest record in its history.
Realizing this upbeat trend and a bright economic outlook in the coming years, MMPC President and Chief Executive Officer, Hikosaburo Shibata said that “Now is the time for the auto industry to take advantage of the positive spiral in terms of motorization brought about by very encouraging consumer confidence. The rapid growth of the Philippine auto industry is inevitable and we hope that the Department of Trade and Industry will push for the Roadmap for the Philippine auto industry which will enable us to further strengthen local vehicle assembly,” Shibata added.
Currently, MMPC is only producing 15,000 units annually, down 50 percent a decade ago, when locally assembled vehicles used to have a greater share than completely built up or CBU units in total industry sales volume.
The change in tariff structures brought about by preferential tariff among Asean members and some free trade agreements allowed more CBU sales now but apparently have told heavily in terms of auto assembly operations, as local parts makers eventually have shut down operations and auto manufacturers have to scale down its manpower. Just as an example, during the 90s, MMPC manpower complement was around 3,500 and was trimmed down to around 900 employees to date.
Shibata mentioned that Mitsubishi Motors Corporation, Japan or MMC is planning to strengthen MMPC’s role in MMC’s Asean strategy of further increasing sales and production volume. MMC President Mr. Osamu Masuko during his in February visit to Manila for MMPC’s 50th anniversary celebration, said that he intends to expand MMPC’s production output to more than 50,000 units by 2015 and further double it by 2020.
This can only materialize if MMPC can produce new models for key segments which can be made competitive for the local market. The new auto policy by the Philippine government should provide enough merits to revive both vehicle and local parts manufacturing towards competitiveness among our Asean neighbors.
Indeed, strengthening the auto manufacturing operations through this new auto policy, will eventually provide a huge job employment opportunities not only for car assemblers, but also to the industry related companies and businesses such as first, second and third tier suppliers.
Shibata added that “We are eagerly awaiting for this new policy to be able us to start feasibility on a new model production strategy with Mitsubishi Motors Corp.”
Shibata continued that “MMPC believes that this will be a win-win relationship with the Philippine government as it will definitely generate employment not only in MMPC but with its ancillary partners in the industry such as auto parts manufacturers and its dealers. Moreover, additional investments and new technology transfer from Japan is expected given the leading edge technology of the next generation cars to be introduced.”