Atty. Rommel Gutierrez
Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (CAMPI)

VELOCITY: China auto sales reportedly fell by 80% on account of the pandemic. Early reports in the US anticipate total auto sales to be slashed by at least a million units. What’s the number that you’re looking at for the Philippines based on projections? How big a hit are we expecting for the year?

Atty. Gutierrez: We’re expecting sales to be at least 20% down.

Aside from the 45-day ECQ which, by and large, also curtailed economic activity, what do you perceive to be hardships for the industry?

We anticipate control measures being in place after the ECQ, and these may still suppress economic activity.

Once we get out of the ECQ, how soon can the market get back to pre-quarantine levels?

Recovery may take months after the ECQ. We’re looking at maybe early fourth quarter this year.

So many production facilities have been shut down all over the world. How will this impact local supply not just of units but spare parts?

We operate based on regional complementation. Production disruption elsewhere has negative impact on local units as well as their spare parts.

We’ve often heard the sentiment that the pandemic will change the way we live forever. Do you see any lasting impact on the conduct of the auto business, particularly if social distancing measures continue to be practiced?

This pandemic will have impact on short- to medium-term plans. It certainly will entail adjustments in the way auto business is conducted.

What’s your message to people who work for auto companies?

Motor vehicles will still be indispensable to future mobility. As in previous crises, the auto industry will rebound and continue to play a vital role in economic recovery.

Will the Philippine International Motor Show (PIMS) still happen this year?

We have not yet canceled PIMS so far but will continue to evaluate whether to push through or not.