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By Roy Stephen C. Canivel

Toyota Motor Philippines Corporation (TMP) has inaugurated a P4.7 billion its P4.7-billion logistics hub in Batangas, which can store up to 4,500 imported units at a time, freeing up space from in its facility in Laguna to store locally produced cars.

TMP said in a statement on Friday that it inaugurated its Batangas Vehicle Center (BVC), which is located about six kilometers away from the Port of Batangas Batangas, so the company can receive imported vehicles faster. It would will employ 1,123 employees, which consist consisting of regular workers, support personnel, and outsourced manpower.

The 32-hectare facility, which uses an RFID-tagging technology for real-time vehicle tracking, has an annual capacity of 160,000 units. Main vehicle preparations can also be done here, including washing, standard accessory installation, inspection, and vehicle maintenance.

Since this would will be used to store Completely Built Units or imported vehicles, vehicles that enter the country already built, TMP said the existing vehicle center in Santa Rosa, Laguna will would be used for dedicated to locally produced units, which units.

TMP chairman Chair Alfred V. Ty said the Laguna facility currently supports the livelihoods livelihood of up to 40,000 Filipinos.

“With the establishment of the BVC, the Santa Rosa Vehicle Center will be dedicated to the growing completely-knocked completely knocked down (CKD) Vios and Innova models that will cater the increasing customer demand for proudly locally-made locally made Toyota vehicles,” the statement read.

CKD units refer to vehicles that are brought into the country for local assembly.

The massive investment in the logistics hub was commended by Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez, who had previously said that a surge in imports in the industry had hurt local jobs since companies would rather import instead, a move that led to a safeguard measure — or a temporary tax on imported vehicles — until the Tariff Commission decided against it.

“Notably, the BVC will serve as TMPC’s central facility for Completely Built Units (CBU) distribution, thus leaving the existing logistics facility in Sta. Rosa more focused on the production of Completely Knocked Down (CKD) units,” he said. CBU refers to imported vehicles that enter the country already built, as opposed to CKD units that still have to be assembled. “We commend Toyota for streamlining its logistics operations as it poses an opportunity to expand local manufacturing capacities,”

Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez

The inauguration came at a time when the local auto industry is on its way to recovery, as its sales now have risen to almost match the sales before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country.

“In the first half of 2021, the automotive market recovered to 72 percent of pre-COVID levels and continues to show an encouraging upward trend. TMP maintains its market leadership with a share of over 40 percent, putting us squarely on the path to 20 consecutive years of the tripple crown – marking leadership in passenger car, commercial vehicle and total vehicle sales,” Ty said.

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