Locally-assembled City seen to drive Honda sales
MANILA - Honda Cars Philippines Inc. (HCPI) is targeting a 10-15 percent hike in total sales this year as it sees strong demand for the locally-assembled City, the company’s top executive said.
“I think we can go beyond last year’s results,” HCPI president and general manager Tatsuya Natsume told reporters in a chance interview.
He said they hope to exceed last year’s total sales of 12,653 units by 10-15 percent.
The latest report of the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc. showed that HCPI’s sales reached 10,536 units as of end-September, up 13.2 percent from 9,309 units in the same period last year.
Natsume said HCPI’s best-selling model so far is the City, with the firm selling between 600 to 700 units of the compact sedan per month.
The City is the only vehicle model being assembled by HCPI at its plant in Santa Rosa, Laguna.
The plant, which has a capacity of 15,000 units per year, is still not fully utilized with production of the City reaching only 7,000 to 8,000 units annually.
Other vehicles being sold by HCPI are imported, with the Civic, Accord, Jazz and CR-V assembled in Thailand, the Odyssey and Pilot manufactured in the US and the CR-Z made in Japan.
Natsume said while HCPI is studying what other vehicle models can be assembled here, the firm’s decision would depend much on the road map for the automotive industry which has yet to be released by the government.
“We have options. If we decide too early, it may not comply with the policy of the government so we are on wait and see,” he said.
Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo earlier said they would want to give incentives to vehicle firms which are able to assemble a minimum of 40,000 units per model per year, for them to not only serve the domestic market but to export as well.
The minimum volume of production, which will trigger incentives, is intended to push firms to raise their output and become more competitive.
As the aim of the road map is to grow the automotive industry, Natsume said the plan should be inclusive and should not have hurdles.
“Everybody, not only manufacturers who are currently present in the Philippines, but also manufacturers who haven’t come to the Philippines should be motivated to come. Otherwise, the automotive industry itself will not grow in the future. I think the policy program should not be selective but very inclusive,” he said.
As for new vehicle models to be launched in the Philippine market, he said that such will depend on demand.