While some carmakers have downsized vehicle production in the Philippines or moved major operations to Thailand, the authorized distributor of Chery vehicles in the country has confirmed it will be putting up an assembly plant south of Metro Manila.
The confirmation from a well-placed source in Iseway Motors Philippines came three quarters after TopGear.com.ph reported that the Chinese car brand is mulling to start building cars in the Philippines.
If things go as planned, the source said the Chery plant will be operational by October 2011.
"Your article last November where you said customers have complained about the quality of Chery vehicles as 'atrocious' was right," said the source. "The only way we can improve on that is if we start assembling the vehicles here."
The Philippine assembly plant will be Chery's first car-producing facility outside China.
The source also confirmed that Chery and Columbian Auto Car Corp., distributor of Kia vehicles in the Philippines, negotiated for the acquisition of the distributorship license of the Chinese vehicles from Iseway Motors.
Based on the initial agreement, Columbian Autocar will run the assembly operation while Chery Iseway will handle the local distribution of the vehicles. Talk between the two companies collapsed for undisclosed reasons, prompting Chery Iseway to go its own way and put up the assembly plant by itself.
While this bit of good news means more jobs for our countrymen, we can't help but wonder if putting up its own assembly guarantees that the appalling build quality Chery has been known for in the past will soon be a distant memory. We can only hope so.