Toyota to expand the hybrid car market in PH

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Toyota Daihatsu Engineering and Manufacturing vice president Yukio Yoshida, Toyota PH vice chair Dr. David Go, DTI Undersecretary Rafaelita Aladaba, TMP president Satoru Suzuki, TMAP EVP Vince Socco, and Clear Air Asia deputy executive director Atty. Glynda Bathan leads the "Toyota Hybrid Elctric Technology Conference," which aims to spread awareness about the company's hybrid car models.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Japanese automaker Toyota Motor is optimistic as it bids to introduce its hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) to a wider Philippine market.

The optimism comes as the company struggles to expand the sales growth of its HEV models since it forayed into sustainable mobility a decade ago.

Since it launched its first hybrid car in 2009 in the country, Toyota has only sold about 300 units. The company cites the high cost for low sales. A unit of its hybrid models is currently sold at P2.3 million - enough to buy two passenger cars.

"We need a new product, a new price, and also education to the customers. We're also appealing to the government to provide the additional support," Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) President Satoru Suzuki said at the sidelines of the company's technology forum Wednesday in Taguig City.

A cut-body, cross section model of the Prius was exhibited during the event to better explain how Toyota's hybrid technology works.

The conference is among the automaker's initiatives to promote hybrid technology among Filipinos. TMP during the event laid out its roadmap called "Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050," which aims to eliminate the company's carbon emissions in the next three decades.

The initiative includes methods such as the use of a wide array of hybrid and electric vehicles with little to no carbon emissions, reduction and reuse of natural resources in manufacturing, and promoting collaboration among the public sector and academe.

TMP is turning to the government in lowering tax on imports and giving manufacturers of HEVs tax incentives, which in turn can lower the price of its hybrid models to as low as P1.6 million.

Suzuki highlighted the role of the public sector in attaining the company's goal of reaching more Filipino consumers. For example, he said, the company's sales from its hybrid cars improved following the implementation of the tax reform law, which lowers excise taxes on HEVs.

"Only at the time after the new tax, TRAIN law started in last two years, at the time the government gave some special benefits to private [manufacturers] after that especially our hybrid model sales have increased," Suzuki said.

Meanwhile, Rommel Gutierrez, TMP First Vice President for Corporate Affairs, said with enough awareness among Filipino consumers, the company can boost its sales for hybrid units in the coming years.

"We are confident that sales would increase... [Five to nine] years reasonable," Gutierrez said.

"We're just starting. We need to promote technology... In the coming years, it's just a matter of time we need to make the public aware," he added.