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Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez during the inauguration of MMPC’s new stamping shop in Sta. Rosa, Laguna.

DTI wants Mitsubishi in jeepney rehab scheme

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has courted Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp. (MMPC) to participate in the jeepney modernization program.

Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez said MMPC could participate in the Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) Modernization Program using its existing facilities under the Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS) program.

In his keynote speech during the inauguration of MMPC’s new stamping shop in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, Lopez said the Japanese car company could participate in “the planned PUV Modernization Program through its truck division Fuso.”

“Likewise, mindful of the synergies between CARS and the PUV program, particularly in the utilization of equipment and tooling already in place under CARS, Mitsubishi Philippines can use the excess capacity of your press plant to produce parts for the replacement of PUVs,” he said.

He noted that the DTI is now finalizing its support program to the PUV Modernization Program by reallocating the budget for the third player of CARS Program as incentives to local vehicle body makers for PUVs.

“We are aligning the third CARS slot to support the local manufacture of replacement vehicles for our PUV modernization program,” the DTI chief said.

He added that the CARS Program Management Office held consultations with original equipment manufacturers (OEM) platform manufacturers and their local body builders for the features and mechanisms of the support program.

“This will be shortly seeking the President’s approval for a separate executive order (EO) for its implementation,” Lopez said.

In a previous interview, the top trade official said that local body makers for PUVs should be given perks under the DTI’s support program for the PUV modernization, and not the car companies supplying engines for the modernization program participants.

“It’s already their business to sell their platform. They don’t need incentives for that since platform is generic. They will not produce something new, so they don’t need the incentives,” Lopez said.

MMPC opened last Thursday its PHP2.8-billion stamping shop in Sta Rosa, the biggest stamping facility in the country.

The facility is part of the MMPC’s commitment as a participating car maker under the government’s Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS) Program, which aims to stimulate investments and the local production of automotive vehicles.

The new stamping shop has raised the local content in producing Mirage hatchback and Mirage G4 sedan up to 35 percent.

The company said it would further increase the manufacturing of local parts here to comply with the CARS Program’s requirement of at least 50-percent local content.

“This (CARS Program) became an avenue for MMPC to invest on its own stamping facility that will help place the country as one of the production hubs in the ASEAN region,” MMPC President and Chief Executive Officer Mutsuhiro Oshikiri said. The facility has a production capacity of 35,000 units in two shifts annually. The stamping shop does blanking, draw forming, trimming, flanging, and piercing.

Lopez said the CARS Program has helped attract new investments, create new jobs, and revitalize the country’s automotive industry.

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