COVID-19 sidetracks Toyota, Mitsubishi in meeting CARS program quotas

2020 has been a tough year for everyone. The Covid-19 pandemic has caused a downturn in every industry, and the Philippine auto industry wasn't spared. It's even tougher for the automakers part of the Department of Trade and Industries' (DTI) CARS (Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy) Program. That's because the sales and quota requirement deadline is looming, and Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) and Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corporation (MMPC) are now requesting help from the government. 

Earlier this year, TMP announced they would be able to meet the 230,000 vehicles requirement after selling over 33,000 Vios units in 2019. However, the pandemic has made that target a lot harder to meet. During the Toyota Corolla Cross press conference, Atty. Rommel Gutierrez said that they now need government support in order to meet the CARS quota.

Due to the impact brought about by the pandemic, sales have been slow during the first half of 2020. The manufacturing aspect has been affected as well due to the lockdown and quarantine measures implemented by the government in the past months. As such, participants of the CARS program are in danger of not achieving the target volume as committed.

Gutierrez further stressed that participants of CARS need the appropriate assistance and collaboration with the government in order to maintain local production. Furthermore, this will help them to not only be competitive with each other, but also with other countries in the ASEAN. Without assistance, it is possible that the Philippine auto industry will have a hard time recovering.

Toyota, Mitsubishi need gov’t help to meet CARS program deadline image

It is the same case with MMPC and the locally assembled Mirage units.

“For MMPC, we are requesting DTI to review the CARS Program in the light of several factors outside of the control of the participants, particularly the COVID19 pandemic, which rendered difficulty for MMPC to achieve the requirements within the time limit set under the Program,” the automaker told us in an email. 

Considering the country is already in a recession, the local auto industry struggling to reach its quotas is one of the last things the country needs right now. If the government wants to keep automotive manufacturing alive, they will have to give TMP and MMPC the much-needed support for the CARS program. Whether it be financial, an extension of the deadline, or some other method, they need to give these automakers, and their employees, a helping hand.