• Toyota introduces new Vios; increased sales seen

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    TOYOTA Motor Phils. (TMP) on Monday held a “line-off” ceremony at its Santa Rosa, Laguna, manufacturing facilities to introduce the all-new Vios subcompact, making the country the second market after Thailand to get the new car.

    The new Vios was officially “certified” as meeting Toyota’s standards by Toyota Motor Corp. President Akio Toyoda during his visit to the TMP plant on July 3, according to Dr. David Go, TMP senior executive vice president. Toyota Motor Corp., based in Japan, is the parent company of Toyota’s automotive business worldwide.

    TMP President Michinobu Sugata bared that, like the previous model, the new Vios is built locally, with the car holding a “tremendous significance” to TMP and the domestic auto industry. The carmaker forecast higher sales figures for 2013 with the launch of the new model.

    “We raised the level of our production capability,” Sugata said, citing that the company has added a third robot for its paint section, extended its oven and upgraded its welding jigs and guns,” he said.

    Sugata added that the changes have sped up the production line to allow for 33,300 vehicles a year, up from the previous 30,500-unit capacity. Besides the Vios, TMP also builds the Innova at its plant.

    “We expect to sell more,” Sugata continued, saying that TMP is aiming for 36,300 Innova and Vios models sold by the end of 2013—an 18-percent rise, to be achieved through overtime work. “The new Vios alone will account for 14,594 units to be built from July to December.”

    TMP’s chief executive said that the new Vios “required a P2-billion investment for the infusion of new technology.” He added that the number of parts sourced locally for the new Vios rose from 230 to 265, and that TMP plans to bring the number to 300 “in the near future.”

    Last year, 194,368 Vios cars were sold, with 176,371 units going to Asean markets and 17,997 to other countries worldwide. Of the total sold in Asean, Thailand—the region’s auto manufacturing hub—accounted for 108,176 cars while the Philippines took 16,517.

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