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A tale of two Ts

Checking In On Toyota And TCCCI AMID The ECQ

These days of uncertainty and fear, that Yano ditty “Kumusta Na” comes to mind (millennials, feel free to Spotify if you’ve heard of neither): “Kumusta na, ayos pa ba? Ang buhay natin, kaya pa ba? Eh kung hindi, paano na? Ewan mo ba, bahala na. (How’s it going? Are things okay? Can we still handle life? If not, what now?)”

Though Dong Abay and Eric Gancio were surely ranting about the socioeconomic and political situation then when they penned this song around the early ‘90s, the words find new relevance in the time of this pandemic. Don’t you wait anxiously to exhale through your face mask-free mouth and breathe the fresh air without worrying about an airborne coronavirus waiting to invade your hapless immune systems which doesn’t know what it’s dealing with?

Kumusta na? We’re not okay, but that’s okay to admit to yourself and to others, as I said last week. We are each other’s support – propping everyone up even just digitally with positivity, love, and the hope we’ll see this through. Unfortunately, some of us have been felled by this insidious microbe. Our hearts and prayers go out to them.

Kaya pa ba? We take it one day at a time – kind of like how we just we take a couple of small bottles of 70-percent isopropyl alcohol at the grocery because that’s all we can get (take that, hoarders), and make our way quietly to the checkout counter. We’ll get more next time; there’s a tomorrow.

I reached out with a “kumusta na” to a couple more auto brands: Toyota Motor Philippines Corporation (TMP), the country’s perennial leader; and The Covenant Car Company, Inc. (TCCCI), steward of established American marque Chevrolet and the UK-rooted Morris Garages (MG) which has made a reentry into our market with a splash.

Replying to my questions for TMP was its VP for corporate affairs, Atty. Rommel Gutierrez, who’s also the president of Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines (CAMPI).

DESIGNATED DRIVER: What are TMP’s policies both for employees and dealerships during the lockdown?

TMP’s main policy is to ensure business continuity as much as possible. Since plant operation has stopped, non-production team members have been provided with the facilities for work-from-home scheme such as a virtual personal network. We also monitor dealership operations especially those located outside Metro Manila who are also affected by local community lockdown.

Are there global guidelines on how Toyota is responding to the pandemic in view of its business?

Toyota is responding to this pandemic by giving special attention on how it can help local communities especially in mobilizing frontline health workers do their noble job. Toyota affiliates in the region are implementing corporate social responsibility activities towards addressing the difficulties of this crisis.

What contingencies are in place for its factory workers in Sta. Rosa? Are the plants completely shut down?

Yes, Toyota’s manufacturing operations in Santa Rosa City, Laguna is temporarily shut down due to the enhanced community quarantine. TMP continues to monitor the health status of every team member to ensure that they are safe and ready for resumption of work.

How will the ECQ affect TMP’s participation in CARS vis-a-vis sales and production targets?

The disruption in sales brought about by the ECQ will necessitate adjustments in production targets. We will assess when situation normalizes including how the market will recover by then.

Aside from lending its vehicles to frontliners, please share TMP efforts amid the pandemic.

TMP continues its effort to address concerns not only of its team members but also of its customers. Aside from lending vehicles to hospitals, TMP team members continue to timely receive their salaries or other forms of support. Toyota customers are also given flexibility such as on vehicle warranty and financing-related requirements. TMP also extends its support to the City of Santa Rosa City in various forms such as donation of face masks and other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) supplies.

* * *

Next, we have the president and CEO of TCCCI, Atty. Albert Arcilla.

DESIGNATED DRIVER: What are TCCCI’s policies both for employees and dealerships during the lockdown? Are you opening certain roles up to work-from-home (WFH) arrangements? Which roles? What percentage of employees are afforded WFH?

Atty. Arcilla: At the onset of the news of the health crisis, TCCCI implemented its Service Operations Resiliency Program (SORP) which allows all our stewards to work from home. We are also working closely with our Chevrolet and MG dealer partners and activated safety protocols to ensure the well-being and safety of their employees during these uncertain times.

The welfare of our stewards, our dealers, and that of the Chevrolet and MG communities is our primary concern, and as we continue to adapt to the work-from-home environment, we are discovering ways to continue managing the continuity of our business operations in the service of our clients.

Are dealerships outside of Luzon affected? If yes, how?

Currently, there are certain provinces and cities outside Luzon that are under enhanced or general community quarantine, including areas where Chevrolet and MG dealerships are present.

Our company has deemed it best to follow the national government’s recommendations, as well as those of local government units, in accordance with the implementation of strict quarantine guidelines to stem the spread of COVID-19. As such, all Chevrolet and MG dealerships nationwide have temporarily suspended their showroom and service center operations.

While dealership operations for face-to face transactions are restricted, we at TCCCI, together with our dealer partners, are working online to respond to any sales or aftersales inquiries that we may receive during this time.

What is your message for customers who recently purchased a car and whose payments will be affected/delayed? How about those whose PMS schedules and warranty will be affected?

Both Chevrolet and MG will allow customers to reschedule appointments for preventive maintenance service (PMS) that were originally set for this month. They may reschedule to June, without voiding the vehicle warranty. Specifically for Chevrolet, we have announced a 60-day extension of vehicle warranty claims for eligible customers.

Kap Maceda Aguila

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