Nissan urges Philippines to focus on van production
(The Philippine Star) - December 5, 2015 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines is urged to create its own niche in the local automotive industry to make it more competitive in the region, a ranking official from the local unit of Japanese firm Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. said.

Nissan Philippines Inc. president and managing director Antonio Zara said the country should focus on van production to follow the path of Thailand which has become one of the world’s biggest markets for pickup trucks to date.

“We’re trying to compete with other countries and these are big economies. So for us, we should develop the van market,” Zara said.

Zara’s suggestion is in line with the approval of Executive Order 182 or the Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS) Program by President Aquino on May 29.

The CARS program seeks to support the assembly of three vehicle models by providing incentives in the form of tax payment certificates to firms which meet investment and production volume requirements.

“Vans are the perfect choice especially with the Euro 4 standard. Many vehicles will be phased out,” Zara said.

Zara said vans are the perfect replacement to traditional public utility vehicles given its large passenger capacity.

The Urvan is currently the most popular nameplate for Nissan Philippines.  With the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement in place, the company can import the Urvan from Japan at zero tariff.

Zara said the company remains uninterested in manufacturing vehicles locally given the attractive tariff scheme for imports.

Meanwhile, Zara is also urging the government to create an independent assessment body composed of technical experts in line with the ongoing incidents of sudden and unintended acceleration (SUA) of the Mitsubishi Montero.

He said the SUA cases could have been addressed earlier if such body is already in existence.

ACIRC ANTONIO ZARA COMPREHENSIVE AUTOMOTIVE RESURGENCE STRATEGY EXECUTIVE ORDER MITSUBISHI MONTERO NISSAN MOTOR CO NISSAN PHILIPPINES NISSAN PHILIPPINES INC PRESIDENT AQUINO URVAN ZARA
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