One of the massive plans Toyota Motor Philippines Corp has for next year is to build a P4.5-billion logistics hub. It is not looking like a wise decision though, given that its sales are presently at-risk of falling.

The hub will be making more space for more cars. Ideally, this is a good investment.

In reality, however, with proposals to put tariffs on imported vehicles, this investment might not be such a well-though out one.

According to TMP President, Satoru Suzuki, the logistics hub is being developed in the anticipation of greater demand for its cars, Phil Star reported.

The president cited how the courtyard in Laguna, which has a 5,000-vehicle capacity, could, one day, not be enough.

In essence, the hub will not just aid Toyota has a higher capacity to store imported cars, but also address anticipated increase in Filipinos’ demand for car.

This in spite of the already inhumane and impossible traffic situation in the country.

Does this Even Make Sense? 

The hub announcement occurred at a slightly unfortunate time, though. The Department of Trade and Industry is said to be, at present, already studying proposals that would encourage car manufacturers to produce local models instead of importing.

Three words: tax imported vehicles.

Therefore, Toyota is likely to suffer if it plans to import more cars.

This is not even news to Suzuki. In one of his recent interviews before stepping down, he claimed these proposals as being “anti-free trade.”

These proposals now threaten the viability of Toyota’s P4.5-billion investment. Essentially, it will lose its point.

He claimed that when a tax is truly imposed, the company will be investing in a property that is not even needed.

Asked if Toyota will reverse the decision to invest in a new hub, he said no. This is because the company has firm confidence that the government will not impose the tax.

According to DTI, the Philippines has been importing over a million units of cars between 2014 and 2018.

In 2014 alone, as high as 153,000 motor vehicles have been imported.

Assessments also revealed that up to 70% of imports are from Thailand (428,000) and Indonesia (312,000) within that timeframe.

Toyota has several production hubs in these two countries.

Support Local Producers or Other Agenda?

On the part of the government, it can very well be pursuing the import tax because of two reasons apart from supporting local production.

First, to safeguard the local jobs that are vanishing because of importation activities.

Second, to retaliate against Thailand. The¬†World Trade Organization made rulings on Philippines’ favor with regard to Thailand’s alleged unfair treatment of the imports of Philip Morris cigarettes.

Thailand, however, refused to observe the ruling.

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