Jude P. Morte / | April 21, 2005 00:00
Guard against imported used vehicles and safeguard buyers'/sellers' rights
This was the battlecry of the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (CAMPI), the Motor Vehicle Parts Manufacturers Association of the Philippines (MVPMAP), the Philippine Automotive Association (PAA, an association of motor vehicle dealers) and the Automotive Industry Workers Alliance (AIWA) in a media forum held at the Manila function room of the Makati Shangri-La Hotel last April 15. The said organizations recently affirmed its drive against the selling of imported used vehicles in the country and the implementation of a "Lemon Law" that will govern the rights and obligations of motor vehicle buyers and sellers.
In the press conference headed by CAMPI president Elizabeth Lee and CAMPI Vice President Melchor Dizon, the said organizations expressed sorrow at the apparently non-stop proliferation of imported used vehicles in the country, while lobbying harder for more government intervention to stop the said mess. Drawing most of the four automotive associations' ire was the supposedly emissions-free certification of imported used vehicles. "In terms of being able to pass smog, it is an outcry that these secondhand imported vehicles still remain in the country. These vehicle use rather quick testing methods that perform these tests for the sake of testing, while all members of the automotive industry, whether CAMPI members or not, provide comprehensive emissions testing to make sure each vehicle that comes out of a manufacturer's factory is environmentally friendly," said Ms. Lee.
Another bone of contention was the supposedly safe driving environment that secondhand imported vehicles offer due to their conversion from right hand drive (the common orientation of secondhand imported vehicles) to left hand drive. "On the contrary, the supposed conversion of these vehicles from right hand drive to left hand drive is not complete, especially when it comes to the steering section. Most problems of these vehicles come from the cut-and-weld patchwork done on the steering rods, violating design rules and promoting unsafe design conditions," said Michael Nacua, General Motors Automobiles Philippines, Inc. (GMAP, the newest member of CAMPI) aftersales director in an interview after the press conference.
CAMPI officials present at the press forum also pointed out that imported used vehicles have other quirks that can compromise safety, such as the headlight beam patterns, wiper orientation and door positions (when it comes to passenger vans) that endanger passengers as well as fellow motorists and pedestrians.
With regard to the Lemon Law, officials of the four organizations stressed that lines should be drawn as to the rights and obligations of both sellers and buyers, along with the standard operating procedures (SOPs) needed in handling motor vehicle-involved customer complaints.
Ms. Lee also stressed that the auto industry is not out to cheat customers or provide customers with the impression that auto manufacturers are out to further their own agendas; hence the formulation of media forums and public discussions to provide the public with a robust industry that promotes jobs and seeks the welfare of all.