By Alden M. Monzon
Toyota Motors Philippines (TMP) said it could begin local production of a new light commercial vehicle unit (LCV) inspired by the Tamaraw model within five years.
On the sidelines of a Toyota event in Taguig late Monday night, First Vice President Rommel Gutierrez said the new generation of the iconic 1990s’ vehicle would be designed for the micro, small and medium enterprises.
“Again, it’s just a concept because the Tamaraw, it was used as a workhorse,” Gutierrez said, adding that there is no definite design look yet for this LCV model.
In a separate statement, the Toyota executive said this “Toyota Mobility LCV” will take inspiration from the heritage of the first Asian utility vehicle (AUV) introduced in the 1970s.
“As it has been Toyota’s mission to produce ever-better cars, TMP will showcase advancements from Tamaraw and further build on the reliability and flexibility it established for the Filipino customers,” the statement said.
TMP noted that there is a rising demand for LCVs in the Philippines, adding that it sees this as an opportunity to provide a more suitable and affordable option for Filipino entrepreneurs.
“Localization of the model will also allow TMP to respond to the specific conversion requirements (and) specialized needs of Philippine customers,” the company said further.
However, TMP admitted that “Toyota Mobility LCV” is still at its prototype phase.
TMP said they have earmarked P4.4 billion towards the production, as well as for the parts localization of this planned vehicle model.
Toyota’s Tamaraw pickup truck was first launched in the Philippines in 1976 when the carmaker was still struggling to overcome the protectionist tariffs the United States imposed on Toyota cars which US carmakers belittled as “unreliable.”
Despite this, the Tamaraw gained popularity in the Asian market -including the Philippines- and was similarly launched in other countries under different model names.
The same truck model was called Kijang in Indonesia, Qualis in India, Zace in Vietnam and Taiwan, Unser in Malaysia and Stallion, Venture, and Condor in Africa.