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By Daxim L. Lucas

Around this time last year, Toy­ota Mo­tor Philip­pines (TMP) chair Al­fred Ty was ex­press­ing “guarded op­ti­mism” about the com­pany’s busi­ness prospects in 2020. While he mouthed en­cour­ag­ing words, he was qui­etly wor­ried about what was then an emerg­ing virus whose de­struc­tive power on the global econ­omy was only start­ing to man­i­fest it­self.

What a dif­fer­ence a year makes.

Last week, Ty and the rest of Toy­ota’s top lo­cal brass briefed the press on the firm’s per­for­mance for the pre­vi­ous year and, on hind­sight, maybe they shouldn’t have wor­ried too much.

Toy­ota re­mained the undis­puted leader, cap­tur­ing 41 per­cent of the Philip­pine auto mar­ket, with sales of over 100,000 units. And ac­cord­ing to in­dus­try news web­site au­toin­dus­triya. com, the top 10 best sell­ing ve­hi­cles in the Philip­pines for 2020 was al­most an ex­clu­sively Toy­ota af­fair, with the brand’s mod­els tak­ing the top six ranks and the 10th spot, too.

TMP chairman Alfred Ty

More im­por­tantly, Toy­ota Mo­tor Philip­pines said it would start op­er­a­tions of a P4.5-bil­lion Batan­gas ve­hi­cle lo­gis­tics hub later this year on its 32-hectare prop­erty lo­cated near the Batan­gas port, the coun­try’s main gate­way for im­ported ve­hi­cles.

Com­pany of­fi­cials said the hub would house a pre­de­liv­ery in­spec­tion and post­pro­duc­tion in­stal­la­tion fa­cil­ity with a ca­pac­ity of 160,000 units per year and a stock­yard that can ac­com­mo­date at least 4,500 cars at a time.

Sim­i­lar to its Santa Rosa ve­hi­cle lo­gis­tics cen­ter, the new fa­cil­ity would have an 18-truck lane cov­ered car car­rier load­ing and un­load­ing area. This would help en­sure the safety and health of its em­ploy­ees, en­abling them to oper­ate in any weather con­di­tion.

“The auto in­dus­try is a key driver of eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity and an es­sen­tial part of the drive to in­crease mo­bil­ity,” TMP pres­i­dent At­suhiro Okamoto said. “At the heart of the Batan­gas ve­hi­cle lo­gis­tics hub is our prom­ise of mak­ing ever bet­ter cars for our cus­tomers. [To pre­serve] the qual­ity of our ve­hi­cles, from pro­duc­tion in var­i­ous plants all over the world to [de­liv­er­ing to] deal­ers and cus­tomers, ef­fi­cient lo­gis­tics is nec­es­sary.” Talk about putting one’s money—at least P4.5 bil­lion worth—where one’s mouth is, huh?

This article is part of the Biz Buzz column in today’s Business Section of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

MAIN photo shows TMP pres­i­dent At­suhiro Okamoto, TMP chairman Alfred Ty and GT Capital Auto Dealership Holdings chairman Vince Socco presiding over a press conference at the Grand Hyatt Hotel

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