Campi seeks release of EO on auto road map this year

Posted at 09/04/14 7:34 AM

MANILA - The executive order (EO) putting into operation the automotive industry road map is now awaiting Malacañang’s approval.

“What we were told by the trade department is the executive order [for the auto road map] is already with Malacañang. We would appreciate it if the administration will prioritize this,” said Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc. (Campi) President Rommel Gutierrez in an interview with reporters on Tuesday evening.

Gutierrez said the road map still mandates the 200,000 “aspirational goal” for the required unit volume—spread over five years—to qualify for incentives despite their objection to it. It also grants government subsidy equivalent to $1,000 to bridge the gap in the production cost in the Philippines compared to other countries.

“The incentive package offered in the road map is attractive enough,” Gutierrez said, without elaborating. He noted that certain conditions in terms of localization were set for the auto industry to meet in order to avail themselves of incentives.

Philippine car assemblers have been seeking the release of the auto industry road map from the government for nearly two years now, as the comprehensive plan will set the policy direction and determine future investments of auto firms.

According to the Campi president, the said EO has been forwarded to Malacañang two to three months ago and hopes it will be released within the year.

Nissan Philippines President and Managing Director Antonio Zara said, in a separate interview with reporters during the Fifth Philippine International Motor Show media night, that the road map will have to spell out what will be the advantage of the Philippines as a production base in order to fuel more investments for localization of parts and other projects.

“We need to define a solid, concise and targeted road map. How could we differentiate ourselves? That’s where the road map can come in. We could take the example of other countries that have identified a niche in a vehicle segment, such as Thailand with [its] pickup program,” Zara said.

Meanwhile, the Campi president also revealed that the group wants the implementing rules and regulations of the Lemon Law, currently being drafted by the trade department, to clearly define what would constitute “nonconformity to standards” that will be the basis for the replacement or refund of the vehicle.

Gutierrez said the definition of non-conformity to standards in assessing a vehicle should be safety-related, and not just based on minor defects on the automobile. Gutierrez, however, said Campi will observe the provision in the Lemon Law allowing up to five attempts to repair the vehicle, before replacement or refund can take place.