Isuzu PH to 'localize' assembly of D-Max

By Catherine N. Pillas, BusinessMirror

Posted at Jan 21 2014 07:20 AM | Updated as of Jan 21 2014 03:20 PM

MANILA - Isuzu Philippines Corp. is seeking to fully localize the assembly of its newest vehicle bid in the sport-utility division.

“The first few units of our new D-Max pickup are CBUs [completely built-up units]. However, we have invested in local production since last year, and now it’s a combination of CBUs and locally assembled units. In a few months, we want to fully localize the assembly,” Arthur D. Balmadrid, Isuzu Philippines Corp. senior vice president, said at the sidelines of the 2013 Dealership of the Year Awards held last Friday.

Balmadrid revealed an investment of more than P60 million in facilities, but added there is an ongoing investment as the company makes the move to fully localize production.

According to the vice president, although the move would not necessarily translate to new jobs, the current work force would be maintained or would not be downsized, which would occur if all units were brought into the country as CBUs.

“Ninety percent of our products are locally produced, only about 10 percent of our total volume are CBUs, so we want to continue being labor-intensive,” Balmadrid said.

According to a report by the Philippine Automotive Competitiveness Council (Pacci)—which counts Isuzu Philippines as a member—the industry road map it submitted to the Department of Trade and Industry in November 2012 said one of its strategic objectives is to secure a better market share for locally manufactured vehicles.

The road map noted that the expansion of the local market has mostly been enjoyed by imported CBUs. CKDs, or completely knocked-down vehicles, on the other hand, refer to automobiles whose parts are imported but are assembled in the country.

Pacci reported in the industry road map that CKDs have fallen from some 90 percent in 1995 to 39 percent in 2011, and is advocating for domestic manufacturers to reverse the trend and gain a viable share of the market.