No plans to revise CARS amid drop in vehicle sales

MANILA – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has no immediate plans to revise the Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS) program despite a drop in vehicle sales amid the pandemic.

DTI Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo told reporters he is not confident that participating car makers in the program will reach the required volume of selling 200,000 units by end-2021 as the business environment becomes challenging amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

“We have not yet discussed it [revising the CARS program],” Rodolfo said in Filipino.

“They might be given a longer time to comply with the volume target but not adjusting the volume target itself,” he added.

Signed in 2015, the program targets to stimulate the local automotive industry by providing fiscal incentives to qualified car manufacturers.

Among the requirements of the government to the participating car makers are bringing in their local plants the manufacturing of vital vehicles such as body shell and large plastics production, increasing the local content of the enrolled vehicle model under the program, and selling at least 200,000 units of the enrolled vehicle in six years.

The government allocated PHP27 billion of fiscal incentives for the program.

Toyota Motors Philippines Corp. (TMP) and Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp. (MMPC) are the two participating car makers for the program, with enrolled vehicles Vios for TMP and Mirage model for MMPC.

The Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. reported that vehicle sales from January to May this year fell by 51.1 percent to 69,463 units from 142,185 units sold in the same period in 2019.TMP’s sales dropped by 52.2 percent in the said period, selling only 28,163 units, while MMPC sales in the first five months of the year declined by 49 percent to 12,865 units. (PNA)