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The Philippines: Delay in the CARS Program, Mitsubishi Plans for More and Honda Closed Production Plant

The investment related to local production by automakers has not been so active in the Philippines as CUB imports from Thailand and Indonesia continue to expand. They take different approaches to this matter: Toyota and Mitsubishi, which participate in the government's Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS), are trying to make effective use of their capabilities by producing vehicles that comply with the policy, while Honda has decided to withdraw from production in the Philippines at the beginning of 2020. It has been a rough ride for the CARS program to achieve the initial plan mainly because of the influence of the new coronavirus pandemic. Toyota manufactures Vios and Mitsubishi manufactures Mirage/Mirage G4 as the CARS compliant models. In order to obtain the program incentives from the government, they have to meet the requirement, producing 200,000 units of these models within 6 years. However, due to the market shrinkage in 2018 and the pandemic in 2020, the government is considering extending the deadline. Under this circumstance, although there is a delay in the production schedule of Mirage/Mirage G4, Mitsubishi intends to further promote the effective utilization of its base in the Philippines. The automaker plans to start exporting the L300 model, which was only for the local market, to neighboring countries in the ASEAN region, and is considering contract production of Nissan brand vehicles. On the other hand, Honda has decided to end production operation at the Laguna plant at the end of March 2020.

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