By Roy Robles
The bells were tolled for the local car industry in late 2017 as the President of the Philippines signed in to law the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act, or more commonly known as the TRAIN law. This gave the existing tax structure a complete overhaul to bring the rational tax collection in the country. TLDR for the car industry, it meant a tax hike was in order for most of their more popular brands.
Part of the government’s purpose in implementing the law, particularly for car ownership was actually to:
• Reduce the number of cars on the road and;
• Promote the use of public transportation.
The public and the automotive industry were more than ready to take on this huge change in stride and being 2 years into the implementation of the new tax structure, what are we left with?
Toyota, the country’s number one car manufacturer in terms of sales readily releases their reports every year and it is a good barometer for how much the TRAIN law has affected the car prices in the Philippines as well as the automotive industry as a whole.
Before the TRAIN law took effect, Toyota Philippines’ sales figures vaulted to the number 1 spot for 2017 at 166,601 units sold. This was helped by the fact that the Toyota Vios and Yaris featured all-new engines and adopted CVT transmissions, replacing the old 4-speed automatics, drastically improving fuel economy as well as introducing a midcycle refresh for the Toyota Wigo.
The passenger car segment for Toyota experienced a resurgence of some kind. Knowledge of fact that the TRAIN law would be implemented the next year also bolstered sales as car-buyers were given the incentive to take advantage of the car prices before the change took place.
The car industry took the brunt of the full force of the TRAIN law in the second quarter of 2018. As reported by Philkotse.com, a leading automotive website in the Philippines, price listings of the most popular car models, including that of Toyota’s were significantly higher than that of the previous year. As a result, Toyota’s sales figures understandably dipped slightly at 152,389.
Considering the effects of the new TRAIN law on the industry, this was quite an achievement. This was primarily due to the brand’s aggressive sales and marketing programs that featured all-new releases of Toyota cars, especially the top-selling Toyota Rush, an all-new generation model of the Toyota Vios as well as introducing special editions such as the Avanza Veloz, Hilux Conquest, and the Innova Touring Sport.
While many other car companies cowered at the face of the new TRAIN law, Toyota soldiered on with great value products with new and refreshed models of their best sellers. This created the foundation of the Toyota Philippines sales’ bounce back for the current year 2019, where they are poised to rebound from last year’s dip in sales.
Earlier this month, President Satoru Suzuki of Toyota Motors Philippines graced reporters at the launch of the all-new Toyota Hiace Super Grandia with an optimistic tone. The Super Grandia itself is one of Toyota’s premium variants for their high-volume product – the Toyota Hiace, with sales expected to reach 400 units every month.
Satoru Suzuki says that with the introduction of their newer models as well as bolstering marketing or their other high-volume vehicles, they are on track to break last year’s sales record and sell more than 165,000 units for 2019. This is almost a 10% increase from the Toyota Philippines sales in the previous year which is just remarkable.
Toyota has always been at the forefront of sales excellence in the Philippines with their diverse lineup of value-oriented vehicles (here is the latest Toyota Philippines price list for your reference). This year, they have also introduced their halo car, the Toyota Supra, flexing their might and dominance over the Philippine Automotive market.
Toyota understands the Filipinos’ love for cars as well as the local automotive culture and that is why they have weathered the storm and initial shock of increased prices of brand new cars.