It appears we may see another car company assemble one of their popular models in the Philippines.
Last year, there were reports that Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc. (HARI), the official distributor of Hyundai automobiles in the country, was looking to be the third participant to join the Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS) program by assembling a model here. Now it seems there is some progress to those reports.
During a trip to Santa Rosa, Laguna, AutoIndustriya.com spotted some unusual activity at the STAR Motors facility. At their yard, it appears there are quite a lot of newly-assembled examples of the Hyundai Eon, all still wrapped in protective plastic and without wheels.
The Eon is the company's smallest offering and is one of their best selling models after the Accent. The Eon has been in the market since 2012 and is manufactured by Hyundai at their plant in Chennai, India.
By all indications, the units we see in these photos are of the Semi-Knock Down (SKD) variety. SKD means that the vehicles are partially assembled to a degree before importation (i.e. unibody frame already welded together), whereas CKD (Complete Knock Down) have to be assembled from full kits.
Last year, Ma. Fe Perez-Agudo, President and CEO of Hyundai Asia Resources Inc. (HARI), said that they are indeed considering the manufacturing of Hyundai vehicles in the country. During the opening day of the 2016 Manila International Auto Show (MIAS), she said, “ (We’re) reviewing not only investments but possible complementation assembly in ASEAN because there will be a swapping of products in terms of complementation”.
It has also been reported that Hyundai is looking also considering to take part of the Comprehensive Automotive Resugence Strategy (CARS) program. If so, Hyundai will be the third manufacturer to join the CARS program in the country with, along with Mitsubishi and Toyota. Once part of the CARS Program, Hyundai will need to produce 200,000 cars in the span of six years, all for local consumption. Only then will the local plant will be allowed to build cars for the export market.
While there is currently no official confirmation from HARI whether or not they will build cars in the Philippines just yet, these partially assembled cars suggest that the automaker has started the ball rolling.