TOYOTA MOTOR Philippines Corp. wants to ask the government to extend the compliance period for automotive companies under an incentive program created to support local car and parts production.

During the virtual launch of the company’s new pick-up model on Saturday, Toyota First Vice-President Rommel R. Gutierrez said the company seeks to extend the number of years to comply under the Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS) program because it is unable to meet the set volume requirements.

“So many things have happened during the year. It started from the introduction of the new excise tax, which affected the sales. Of course, the Taal Volcano eruption, and definitely, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic,” Mr. Gutierrez said.

Toyota and rival carmaker Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp. are engaged in the CARS program, which offers fiscal support to car companies that locally produce 200,000 units of high-volume car models for a six-year period.

Vehicles that are part of the said program include the Toyota Vios and the Mitsubishi Mirage, with deadlines fixed at 2024 and 2023, respectively.

Mr. Gutierrez, who is also the president of the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (CAMPI), said the company is currently studying the right number of years under the “wished” extension.

“As to the number of years, we are currently determining the volume as sales progresses. We are calculating as of now, what would be the appropriate number of years to be extended,” Mr. Gutierrez said.

“It has always been a challenge to meet the target volume requirement of the program. But we have to face the difficulties, especially keeping employment and all the resources put in there so that the program could succeed,” he added.

Mr. Gutierrez said the company’s overall sales for the year is still projected to be down 30%, amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, he said that Toyota remains hopeful that its car sales would increase and have a strong finish heading towards the end of the year.

“It is true that industry sales were badly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. But the industry has seen a growing number of sales. It’s very encouraging,” Mr. Gutierrez said.

According to a joint report by CAMPI and the Truck Manufacturers Association, car sales from January to July this year fell 48.7% year on year to 105,583 units.

Year to date, commercial vehicle sales declined 47.6% to 75,514 units while passenger car sales fell 51.4% to 30,069 units.    

In July, Toyota remained the country’s market leader, with a market share of 43%. However, its sales dropped 37.4% to 8,833 units. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave