To punctuate its support for the manufacture of vehicles in the country, Toyota Motors Philippines Corporation (TMP) ceremonially rolled off on April 14 the first Innovas assembled at its Santa Rosa plant in Laguna.
“Today’s full model change Innova roll-off would not have been possible without the strong support of and close collaboration among various stakeholders – the government, our supplier, dealers and our own team members,” said TMP president Satoru Suzuki in a speech. “Toyota has dedicated much thought and effort in further developing this model to provide better total customer satisfaction. Today, we are proud to present to all of you the all-new Innova, which has been substantially improved – having a more prominent and spacious design, a tougher and more powerful engine, as well as increased performance and safety features.”
Suzuki also said development of the new Innova did not come easy as planning and groundwork had to be done as early as 2014. He said TMP invested P3.9 billion for major modifications to the company’s production line and the construction of a new parts logistics warehouse. There were also additional parts that were localized.
At a press conference after the ceremony, TMP Senior Vice President for Manufacturing and Production Control Luis Marcelino said the investment led to the hiring of an additional 100 employees and a 10-percent increase in the plant’s production capacity. As a result, he said the company is aiming to produce 57,000 units in 2016, with the Innova comprising nearly 40 percent of total production and the Vios comprising the rest.
Marcelino also said the added investment has led to a 10-percent increase in local content for the Innova, with around half of the new model made out of parts and components manufactured in the Philippines. Meanwhile, Suzuki said he expects TMP’s overall sales for 2016 to increase, buoyed by the introduction of the new Innova and the new Fortuner.
TMP said in a press statement that the previous-generation Innova was the best-selling multi-purpose vehicle or MPV in the Philippines, having sold over 140,000 units since it was launched in 2005 and maintaining a nearly 40 percent share of the MPV market throughout its production. TMP Senior Vice President for marketing Jose Arias said in the press conference the company hopes the new Innova will continue to maintain that share.
In addition, TMP Vice President for Marketing Sherwin Chua-Lim said sales of the new Innova will officially start on April 20.