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CARS Program participants seek review of commitments

New Corolla Cross launched

CARS Program participant Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP)  yesterday called for a review of  commitments saying it would be difficult to achieve the production volume target given the harsh impact from the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic.

TMP Vice-President Rommel Gutierrez revealed their ongoing talks with the Board of Investments, the government agency administering the Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy Program, during the virtual launch of Toyota’s all-new Corolla Cross.  Under the CARS Program, participants are required to produce 200,000 units over a six-year period in lieu of tax incentives granted to their investments.

Gutierrez, who is also president of the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, said

“We think it is very appropriate that we review the policies, conditions of government support. We need appropriate assistance and collaboration with government so we could maintain local production and at the same time be competitive.” There are only two participants in the program. TMP has enrolled its popular Vios model for the program while Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp. has the Mirage model.

Indeed, he said, the domestic motor vehicle manufacturing industry, in particular the CARS Program, is in need of some government support. Gutierrez said that because of the slowdown in sales the local auto manufacturing, specifically Vios and Mirage, the models enrolled under CARS, are also badly hit.

“The danger is there are commitments in the CARS Program and definitely with all these negative impact on the auto industry there is a threat that participants may not be able to achieve the target volume as committed,” he said.

“We are quite concern on the survival of automotive industry,” he said noting the domestic industry must not only be competitive locally but also with other countries in the region.

He stressed that the auto industry is one of the major contributors to GDP and with that there is a need to continue collaborating with the government.

Meantime, TMP said that the tax breaks for hybrid cars and zero duty for imported cars in ASEAN has helped the company price its all-new Corolla Cross competitively.

TMP launched its new Corolla Cross with a price range of P1.285 million for the 1.8 G CVT variant (metal stream metallic) to a high of P1.665 for the 1.8 V HV hybrid variant (platinum white peal mica).

Gutierrez cited the new Excise Tax Law in 2018 has reduced the excise tax rate for hybrid cars by 50 percent. In addition, the ASEAN Free Trade Area has abolished the import tariffs on cars produced in ASEAN since 2010.

“So these benefits are very important for us. These tax breaks make Toyota Corolla Cross and hybrid more price competitive,” said Gutierrez.

TMP President Atsuhiro Okamoto also explained that there are two reasons that also make the price of Corolla Cross close to Corolla Altis. Okamoto said that the Corolla Cross and Corolla Altis share same product structure and some parts.

Another reason is they have to price the new model according to trend as customers are shifting to SUV models from sedan.

Designed as the stylish urban vehicle, the Corolla Cross combines Toyota’s signature “QDR” (quality, durability, and reliability) with style and functionality. Its hybrid electric variant further realizes Toyota’s vision of sustainable mobility and makes self-charging hybrid technology more accessible to Filipinos.

In addition to its hybrid technology, the Corolla Cross also features two of Toyota’s most advanced car technologies today, the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA), and Toyota Safety Sense (TSS).

“Guided by our philosophy of making ever-better cars, Toyota took the best of a trusted model, the Toyota Corolla, and turned it into a sleek and modern crossover,” said Okamoto in a speech during the online launch of the new vehicle. “The Corolla Cross is designed to move you in comfort and style, whether you’re seeking adventure, doing business, or simply spending time with people you love,” he added.

First revealed in its global premiere last month, the Corolla Cross is the latest addition to Toyota’s global bestselling Corolla series. Since its launch in Japan in 1966, the Corolla series has sold a cumulative total of 48 million units or more, in more than 150 countries and regions around the world.

The New Corolla Cross, with its 1.8 V HV (Hybrid) and 1.8 G CVT variants will be available at Toyota dealerships nationwide from August 26, 2020.

Source: Manila Bulletin (

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