Toyota to open logistics facility in Philippines on growing demand for imported cars

11, Dec. 2019

Toyota Motor Philippines Corp.'s headquarters in Laguna Province (Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Philippines)
Toyota Motor Philippines Corp.'s headquarters in Laguna Province (Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Philippines)
MANILA, NNA – Toyota Motor Corp. plans to build a logistics facility next year for the distribution of cars as it expects more growth in vehicle sales despite possible duties on imported automobiles.

The new facility will house newly imported vehicles, while an existing Philippine logistics facility inside its manufacturing plant 64 kilometers away from the capital will be used to store locally assembled vehicles, Satoru Suzuki, president of Toyota Motor Philippines Corp., said Tuesday.

The existing hub can house up to 5,000 vehicles, possibly too small to hold the increasing volume of cars that Toyota is importing into the Philippines, Suzuki said.

The Japanese automaker will spend about 4.5 billion pesos ($88.6 million) to build the new center, possibly on Luzon Island.

Toyota’s total car sales from January through November this year in the Southeast Asian country went up by 5.5 percent to 146,145 units over the same period last year, according to data released Wednesday by the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippine Inc.

The local automotive industry is optimistic that overall car sales will recover this year, “aided by continuous sales promotions and sustained positive economic outlook,” after slumping in 2018 due to high inflation.

Toyota assembles Vios-model small sedans and Innova compact multipurpose vehicles in the country. Like most other vendors, Toyota imports most of its vehicles sold in the Philippines. Filipinos have fewer options for domestically made cars compared to imports.

The Philippine Department of Trade and Industry announced last month that it was studying whether to place duties on imported vehicles after a local labor group asked for protections of the domestic automotive sector.

The labor group, the Philippine Metalworkers Alliance, which represents thousands of factory workers, said a surge in imports had caused job losses at Philippine factories.

Trade department officials have said via local media that the duties could help revive the domestic automotive industry, a government priority. Imported vehicles are already subject to a 40 percent customs duty.

But local media have quoted Suzuki as saying he believes the government may not be committed to the extra tariffs. Those duties could hurt employment among sellers and distributors, Suzuki has told NNA in the past.

Toyota will try to open a dialogue with the trade department over the automotive industry’s concerns, he has said.