By Janina C. Lim, Reporter

LOCAL suppliers are hoping that automotive electronics solutions made here can satisfy the standards of German auto maker BMW AG, which is looking into expanding its supply network in the country.

On the sidelines of the business matching event between local players and BMW held Wednesday in Makati City, Philippine Parts Maker Association, Inc. President Ferdinand I. Raquelsantos said BMW first came to the group three years ago seeking a list of auto mechanical parts which unfortunately no member could provide due to their failure to comply with the German firm’s requirements.

Mr. Raquelsantos still views the country as weak in producing globally appealing mechanical parts, especially when compared to the capacity of Southeast Asian neighbors, Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia.

However, the industry player sees “so much” potential in providing auto electronics solutions that would cater to the European brand’s preference.

“Hearing from them now, it seems they’re on the move for new items,” Mr. Raquelsantos told reporters.

Board of Investments (BoI) Industry Development Services Executive Director Ma. Corazon Halili-Dichosa said BMW’s intention is not to find parts currently produced here but to develop partners that have the potential to meet its needs in the future, particularly in the electronic and autonomous vehicles spaces.

“You can be a partner, where the partnership and relationship can develop and time… Basta may potential research and development capability and siguro technologically oriented ka,” Ms. Dichosa told reporters yesterday, noting the developmental program has been done in Thailand.

Around 26 companies participated in the event, according to Ms. Dichosa. The firms are from the auto parts manufacturing, auto electronics and software development.

Ms. Dichosa added the BoI is working to organize on another business matching event with another European auto brand.

“What we want is to have as many brands in the Philippines for our part makers to have economies of scale,” she added.

At present, BMW only sources steering wheels from the Philippines, according to Mr. Raquelsantos.