Another one bites the dust – or something like that.
The local automotive industry isn’t particularly thriving, especially if we’re talking about cars that are built here. You can count on one hand the major automotive brands that employ local vehicle production – the very thing that the DTI’s safeguard tariffs want to protect.
Unfortunately, another company officially exits the local production segment, and that’s in the form of Nissan Philippines Inc. (NPI) and its Almera.
NPI, along with its vehicle assembly partner Univation Motor Philippines, Inc. (UMPI), has announced that it will be ending the production of the Almera in the Santa Rosa plant in Laguna. It will be effective March 2021.
In an official statement we obtained from NPI, it was announced that the decision is part of a greater clause. It is “aligned with Nissan’s plan towards optimized production and efficient business operations in the ASEAN region, as part of the Nissan NEXT transformation plan.”
To recall, Nissan is amid a transformational process, rising from the ashes that its former CEO Carlos Ghosn has left in the company. The reform, which includes a plan to launch 12 new models within 18 months since its announcement, targets to reduce its global production by 20 percent and to reduce the company’s global product lineup from 69 to 55.
As part of the optimization, Nissan plants will be shut down in different parts of the world. Most notable of which was the closure of its Indonesian factory and other plants in the region, concentrating the company’s entire production in the ASEAN region in Thailand.
In the Philippines, NPI said that UMPI will continue its business operations in the country and will remain active, moving forward. Amid the pandemic, the company ensures that the well-being of its employees is prioritized, while NPI promises a smooth transition during the halt of production.
More importantly, NPI assures that this plant closure won’t affect its business in the country, especially its services needed by its customers. Of note, NPI places third in the bestselling car brands of 2020, moving over 21,000 units.
“Nissan’s strategy in the Philippines is to keep the customer at the heart of our business, and focus on strengthening the fundamentals of Product, Service, Customer Experience, and People. Our customer-centric approach guides our product and service offerings, as well as network expansion,” NPI added in an official statement.
As for the Almera, we can expect NPI to import the subcompact sedan from Thailand, which is currently making the next-generation model. The new Almera, or Versa in other markets, looks better, at least in our eyes, and now carries the latest iteration of the V-motion grille.
With that said, we can expect NPI to launch the new Almera in the country sooner than later, which should help the company to reignite the interest back to the Nissan small sedan. As for its pricing, well, your guess is just as good as ours right now, but we won’t expect it to be cheaper given the circumstance.