By Janina C. Lim, Reporter
KYMCO Philippines, Inc. is planning to put up a P1-billion facility in the country to boost its current capacity to meet growing demand and to allow future expansion into electric motorcycles.
In a press briefing in Makati City on Wednesday, Kymco Philippines President Allan B. Santiago said the company is looking to build the facility in north or south Luzon, particularly Laguna and Batangas due to their proximity to the Batangas port.
The local unit of Taiwan’s Kwang Yang Co. Motors Ltd. expects to start construction of the facility next year, and targets to operate by 2022 or 2023. The facility will have a monthly production of 6,000 up to 20,000 units.
“After about a decade of operations in the country, we have seen the potential and economic opportunities that the Philippines has to offer, and we believe that it is high time for us to take our presence and commitment to the next level… We are exerting more effort with our plan to bolster our investment in both the Philippine market and Filipino labor,” Mr. Santiago said.
Kymco Phillippines’ current capacity at its 250-hectare plant in Taguig City stands at 5,000 units per month. Monthly sales currently reach more than 1,500 units.
With a local market share of 3% to 5%, Kymco Philippines manufactures and assembles 125 cubic centimeters (cc) to 500cc scooters, all-terrain vehicles and utility vehicles.
The company plans to shut the Taguig plant once the new facility is operational.
“Somehow when you have new models, you need to have new facilities to have these new models. The production facility that we have right now perfectly fits the Philippines. [But] five years from now, the market might be electric. We need to have new facilities in order to manufacture and assemble those kinds of models,” Mr. Santiago said.
Recently, Kymco launched the Xciting S 400i, Like 150i and the Xtown 300i which all have the Noodoe solution, an interactive and customizable digital dashboard that can connect a smartphone for navigation.
The firm also recently introduced electric scooters under the Intelligent Open Network Electric Xperience brand, although the availability of these would depend on the establishment of charging stations and a maintenance facility.
“Maybe in the next 12 months we will have this model already,” Mr. Santiago said, adding they are in talks with companies and a government agency for the installation of charging stations and maintenance facilities.
Mr. Santiago said the local motorcycle market has been growing at an average of 10-15% for the past three years, due to the growing income of the middle class and rising foreign investments.
In 2016, the Motorcycle Development Program Participants Association, which includes Kymco Philippines; Honda Philippines, Inc.; Kawasaki Motors (Phils) Corp.; Suzuki Philippines, Inc.; Yamaha Motor Philippines, Inc., hit the 1 million mark in sales volume.
“Might be, the market for this year will be around 1.4 to 1.5 million,” Mr. Santiago said.