We may soon see more modern jeepneys plying our roads. But don't expect all of them to be built exclusively by local manufacturers and builders. In the future, India is planning to produce more jeepneys for the Philippines as well. But will they be locally produced, or be imported from India? Let's delve deeper into the matter.
Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez wants to further strengthen the trade and investment relationship between the Philippines and India. To do this, he recently held a virtual courtesy call with the Indian Ambassador to the Philippines Shambhu Kumaran. There, both parties discussed steps to create more market opportunities between the two countries.
One of those steps includes India’s plan to enter the jeepney manufacturing market in the country. No specific details were mentioned, but it could involve several Indian manufacturers partnering with local brands to make modern jeepneys and PUVS for the country.
While India’s plan to penetrate the jeepney market may sound new, Indian automakers Tata and Mahindra have already shown interest as early as 2017. Both even produce a few modern PUVs for select transport companies in the country.
Tata planned to tap into the country’s PUV Modernization Program with the SFC 407 Jeepney concept. It takes on a form of a minibus that can seat 22 passengers in total. Like most modern jeepneys, it has a side entrance rather than a rear one. Tata also has the Super Ace PUV that is smaller and can carry fewer passengers.
Meanwhile, Mahindra currently assembles T20 and Supro Modern Jeepney units at their factory located at the Laguna International Industrial plant. The assembly plant is capable of producing 10,000 units annually. They currently supply units of the T20 and Supro modern PUVs to Ecodyip Inc., a local transport company in the Philippines.
Should the DTI and India come to an agreement, it's a sign that the jeepney will be here to stay. At the same time, the government’s PUV modernization program could get accelerated. With that, it also opens the possibility of more commercial vehicles from India being shipped or offered in the Philippines.