EconomyEditor's PickIsuzu on ‘wait-and-see’ mode over bringing in electric vehicles

January 22, 2023

ISUZU Philippines Corp. is taking a “wait-and-see” stance on introducing electric vehicles (EVs) into the local market, a company official said, citing factors such as support infrastructure and regulation.

Isuzu Philippines Assistant Division Head for Sales Robert D. Carlos said the company is supportive of EVs being launched in the country but wishes to see further developments that will help increase consumer adoption such as the installation of more charging stations.

“We support EVs. But for now, we are observing. We are ‘wait-and-see’ for now. Creating a law is one thing. Implementation is another thing. We need to see if there is infrastructure being laid out, like the charging stations,” Mr. Carlos said on the sidelines of a company event in Manila City last week.

According to Mr. Carlos, Isuzu Philippines has been receiving inquiries from customers on EVs, particularly in the truck segment.

“For our clients, there are inquiries for trucks,” Mr. Carlos said, adding that no figures are involved in the queries. “They are just asking if there are any plans for EVs in case the government really imposes and they are forced to get EVs for trucks.”

Mr. Carlos disclosed that the automaker is already preparing for EVs and its introduction to the Philippine market.

“Isuzu is already preparing for EVs. The implementation in the Philippines is just the question. We want to check that the Philippines is ready for EVs. Not only infrastructure but government support as well like incentives and tax,” Mr. Carlos said.

Mr. Carlos said this as President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. signed Executive Order (EO) No. 12 on Jan. 13, which temporarily reduced the most favored nation tariff rates on completely built-up units of imported EVs and imported parts and components for five years.

The EO imposes zero tariff for imported EVs across segments such as passenger cars, buses, minibuses, vans, trucks, motorcycles, tricycles, scooters and bicycles for five years. However, the EO excluded hybrid-type EVs.

The EO also reduced the tariff on certain imported EV parts and components to one percent from five percent for five years.

The law is expected to complement Republic Act No. 11697 or the EV Industry Development Act (EVIDA), which mandates the government and companies to meet a 5% quota on their vehicle fleets.

In a separate statement, Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines (EVAP) President Edmund A. Araga said that EO 12 would help boost the local adoption of EVs.

“Finally, our EV industry will totally roll out in line with EO 12 as it opens a very good opportunity for those interested EV enthusiasts and advocates to own one. Consumers will experience [a] wide array of models to choose from depending on their preferences,” Mr. Araga said.

“This (EO) will pave [the] way on supporting the EVIDA law, which makes the industry a promising one,” he added.

Separately, EVAP Chairman and Philippine Parts Maker Association President Ferdinand I. Raquelsantos said that the temporary tariff reduction is expected to “generally” lower the prices of passenger car EVs by 20%.

“With this exemption on tariff, the prices of passenger car EVs will generally be reduced by 20%, making it very competitive to internal combustion engine-powered vehicles,” Mr. Raquelsantos told BusinessWorld in a Viber message.

“EVs will become more affordable and its proliferation will be much wider,” he added. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

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