The state of the local automotive industryDespite the sales recovery, the automotive industry in the Philippines can be characterized as more of an import-oriented market than a vehicle manufacturer. This is because building a vehicle in the Philippines would cost more in comparison to other Southeast Asian countries because most of the car parts are imported, adding cost to the final product. In 2019, the average cost difference between an imported vehicle from Indonesia and Indonesia was 24 percent lower than a locally produced car in the Philippines. Although there are still manufacturing activities happening, most of them focus on vehicle assembly than actual production. Among the biggest manufacturing brands in the country are Toyota Motor, Mitsubishi Motors, and Foton Philippines. Honda, Nissan, and Isuzu stopped manufacturing in recent years due to high production costs.
For imported vehicles, the Philippines was among the top 10 trading partner countries for China’s vehicle exports and Japan’s used car exports. Various car brands can be purchased through various automotive dealers and retailers that cater to both online and in-store customers. Despite the easing of the COVID-19 situation, virtual showrooms were also expected to continue in the new normal. Among the leading online dealers are Autodeal, ZigWheels, Carousell, and PhilKotse.com. However, a provisional safeguard duty of 70 thousand Philippine pesos for imported passenger cars and 110 thousand Philippine pesos for imported cars has been set to promote sales of locally assembled vehicles.