Underscoring the importance of the Philippine market to its business, Toyota Motor Corporation president Akio Toyoda himself graced the recent festivities to mark Toyota Motor Philippines Corporation’s 30th year of operations.
Held at the Grand Hyatt Manila in Taguig City, the anniversary event was celebrated with various stakeholders, and featured Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte as guest of honor.
“Today marks a milestone for one of the leading pioneers in the country’s automotive industry,” began Duterte in a prepared speech. “It is my pleasure to join you in celebrating your legacy of innovation that has set the foundation of a strong and growing automotive industry in the country. Over the past three decades, Toyota has become a household name on the road and in the homes of many Filipino families. This speaks volumes about the impact (to) the economy not only in moving goods and people but also in charting the course of our country’s future.”
Incorporated on Aug. 3, 1988, TMP’s three stockholders are GT Capital Holdings, Inc. (with 51 percent share), Toyota Motor Corporation (34 percent), and Mitsui & Company, Ltd. (15 percent). TMP vice chairman Alfred Ty revealed in his speech that during its first year, the company sold “a mere 15,000 units,” a figure that is dwarfed by 2017’s total of 184,000 vehicles — “lodging Philippines to (ninth) in Toyota’s global sales.” Ty attributed the success to “years of passion, discipline, and creating a culture to cultivate quality, and the commitment to achieve the ‘Always Better’ in everything we do.” Aside from being ninth in the world in sales volume, TMP has shot up to fourth in the competitive growth area of the ASEAN region.
Meanwhile, Toyota Motor Corporation president Akio Toyoda paid homage to the company’s partners and supporters in the country. “Actually, our history in the Philippines started in 1961,” he revealed. “Unfortunately, the partnership met with great difficulties and we had to cease our operations… Once we left, but we are here now — never again to stop our business. That is our promise to the Filipino people. My father, TMC’s honorary chairman, had a very strong passion to re-start Toyota’s business here with Dr. George SK Ty. He flew here by himself to invite Dr. Ty to Toyota City. Dr. Ty agreed and accepted the offer. Together, they created history and made Toyota Motor Philippines what it is today.”
For 16 years running, TMP has secured the so-called “Triple Crown” in auto sales — attaining leadership in passenger car, commercial vehicle, and overall sales. As of the first half of 2018, the brand has locally cornered 38.2 percent of the market. Cumulative sales total since 1989 have breached the 1.5 million mark as of the end of June. TMP boasts a workforce of almost 2,000, and counts 67 dealerships, including the solitary showroom of Lexus Manila, Inc.
Continued President Duterte: “Toyota… is not only a leader in the production of quality vehicles. It is also a major driver of our economy — encouraging investment that spurs national development. It is also a key generator of employment — nurturing the skills and talents of over 50,000 employees (in its value chain). The corporation has also been government’s steadfast partner in many initiatives such as the Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS) program which aims to attract more investments and implement regulations that will transform the Philippines into an automotive manufacturing hub.”
Meanwhile, Ty underscored that the company has never been more dedicated to serve its stakeholders in making “always better cars and always better lives.” Said the executive: “TMP shall not only be a car manufacturer and distributor of quality and reliable vehicles, but, likewise, diversify into a mobility provider, combining efforts with our sister institutions and developing new strategic partnerships,” he added, and explained how the brand will evolve in the coming years — especially in addressing the customers’ various needs for cleaner and greener vehicles, mobility, and automotive technology.
Ty talked of three “pillars of Toyota’s global campaign:” a “need for a synergistic approach in long-term car leasing and a modified ride-sharing business in collaboration with the leading ride-hailing company; (attaining) zero emission with the use of environment-friendly vehicles; and autonomous driving technology.”
In response, President Duterte promised support for the company. “As we continue to institute reforms in governance, Toyota Motor Philippines can count on my full support as it continues to bring the standards for the automotive industry to greater heights,” he said. “Today I send a message to the rest of the business community: This government will protect you and your investments and will ensure a level playing field for you to thrive in as long as you obey the laws of the land, and safeguard the welfare of your people and general public.”
Emphasizing a “stronger commitment to local manufacturing,” TMP donated 30 locally produced vehicles to the government (20 units of the recently launched Vios and 10 Innovas). Three Hiace vehicles were also promised to the national government. As a participant in the CARS program, Toyota has invested a total of P5.53 billion “to bring in new in-house and out-house manufacturing capabilities… Its participating model, the all-new Vios, is boosted by a more localized body shell and large plastic parts produced under new technologies and with new manpower skills.”