Isuzu Philippines Corporation is among the few car manufacturers that still actually build vehicles in the country, with the new D-Max set for assembly at the company's facility in Biñan, Laguna, after the initial batch of CBU units is sold out. As such, the company is hoping the government would give it tax incentives for choosing to manufacture its vehicles here in spite of the higher production costs compared to other ASEAN members like Thailand and Malaysia.
Unfortunately, that looks to be a remote possibility now, as the Department of Trade and Industry has set down the condition for a car manufacturer to enjoy tax incentives from government: 40,000 units of the same model per year.
"Even the best-selling car in the Philippines right now, the Toyota Vios, will have a hard time hitting that target," IPC senior vice president Arthur Balmadrid told TopGear.com.ph during a D-Max media drive in Iloilo. If the new Vios sells around 2,000 units a month, that means the popular subcompact sedan can only manage 24,000 units a year. To reach 40,000 units, Toyota Motor Philippines will have to export 16,000 units. Good luck finding overseas markets to unload those units to.
As for the new D-Max, Balmadrid said they expect to move around 4,000 units a year, just a tenth of DTI's requirement for tax incentives.
"Had we known that this would be the case, we might have opted to just import CBU units instead as these are cheaper than locally manufactured ones," Balmadrid added.
It looks like the government's "road map" for the Philippine automotive industry is leading nowhere.
Photo by Vernon B. Sarne