Indian car maker Tata to join Tugade’s P300B ‘palit jeepney’ program
Indian car maker Tata Motors plans to set up an assembly plant in the Philippines in line with its plan to join the Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) Modernization Program through its local distributor Pilipinas Taj Autogroup, Inc.
In an interview Tuesday, Pilipinas Taj Vice President and General Manager Arthur Balmadrid said the company plans to locally assemble three models of Tata in the Philippines, particularly the 12-seater Ace, 16-seater Super Ace, and the 22-seater SFC 407, which can also qualify for Transportation Secretary Art Tugade’s ambitious plan to replace all jeepneys for P300 billion.
He added that the Ace model could replace the Filipino multicabs and could also qualify in the modernization program’s Class 1 jeepney along with the Super Ace model.
On the other hand, the SFC 407 model could be eligible to enter the PUV Modernization Program for jeepney’s Classes 2, 3, and 4.
Balmadrid noted that the planned assembly here of Tata Motors could be crucial for the Philippines since the Indian car manufacturer has no manufacturing facilities in Southeast Asian markets like Thailand, Vietnam, and Malaysia.
He added that the Philippines can also be the production hub for SFC 407 model in ASEAN.
Although Balmadrid did not mention the value of investment for local assembly, the Pilipans Taj executive said the investments here would be 100-percent Filipino while Tata Motors would only provide the technical support.
As the government eyes to provide incentives for car companies that will participate in the PUV Modernization Program, Balmadrid said completely built-up (CBU) vehicles should not qualify for the government perks.
“We would like to push for localized PUV. Even us, we consider to localize even the platform for our three models that will be used for the PUV Modernization Program. We are seriously considering having it locally assembled. We want to create additional employment,” Balmadrid said.
He added that the localization component under the PUV Modernization Program should be at least 45 to 50 percent.
He said local demand for small commercial vehicles could reach 2,000 to 3,000 units a month.
“This is not necessarily for jeepney modernization program. The demand for small commercial vehicle is just as big,” Balmadrid said. (PNA)