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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        7  March 2011

Philippines car assembly, parts grow

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The number of vehicles assembled by the five companies belonging to the Philippine Automotive Competitiveness Council Inc. (PACCI) as well as the auto parts its members shipped abroad grew by almost a fifth last year, the group said in a statement on Friday.

PACCI groups the Philippine subsidiaries of Ford, Honda, Isuzu, Mitsubishi and Toyota, as well as the Motor Vehicle Parts Manufacturers Association of the Philippines Inc. (MVPMAP). The five assemblers churned out 67,951 units last year, up 18 percent year-on-year.

PACCI said its members account for about 90 percent of domestic vehicle assembly operations. Exports of auto parts makers belonging to MVPMAP totaled $3.1 billion, up by about 20 percent year-on-year, said Feliciano Torres, chairman of both PACCI and MVPMAP.

Torres said the bulk of vehicle parts and components shipped last year were wiring harness, transmissions, instrument clusters, aluminum wheels, tires, anti-brake system modules, semiconductor assemblies, batteries, forgings, stampings and cast products.

MVPMAP members comprise about four-fifths of the domestic auto parts sector, Torres said. PACCI officials said they await the implementation of the new automotive program approved last year.

"Besides the growth of exports of automotive components and parts, the local parts industry must be strengthened to play a vital role in the growth of local vehicle production, which is operating at only 60 percent of plant capacity utilization," Torres said.

He said incentives from Executive Order 877-Aor the Comprehensive Motor Vehicle Development Program "are still eagerly awaited to maximize production opportunities."

"The manufacturing sector remains optimistic that appropriate government support can be achieved to allow the Philippines to become regionally competitive as vehicle demand steadily increases with Asean economic growth," added Michinobu Sugata, president of PACCI and Toyota Motor Philippines Corp.

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It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

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