Isuzu Philippines Corp. (IPC) will pilot test a prototype of its modern, eco-jeepneys in select Metro Manila routes starting January next year, according to a company official.
In a recent interview with reporters, Isuzu Marketing Division Head Joseph Bautista said commuters can expect to see Isuzu’s modern jeepneys in select Metro Manila areas.
“What will happen in January is the jeepneys will be launched in pilot areas. Any business needs review points in terms of performance, profitability. So, after six months, we may have to review what we have to change. We have to perfect it first before a full implementation, but definitely we’re joining the Eco-PUV [public-utility vehicle] Program,” Bautista said.
The company official said the Department of Transportation’s ongoing route rationalization, plus the six-month test run, will determine the extent of IPC’s involvement in the program.
“We can’t say yet the number of units we’ll supply, because the replacement of the 250,000 old jeepneys won’t be one-to-one. A certain route now, say, has 500 jeeps servicing it; it’ll probably be cut down to 300 or so,” Bautista said.
IPC intends to focus on the class 2 and 3 vehicles, as specified in the Bureau of Product Standards’s guidelines for the eco-PUV.
Under the Board of Investments (BOI) Eco-PUV Program, vehicle body makers like Centro and Almazora, and platform suppliers, such as Isuzu, are eligible for incentives, for the localization of vehicle parts.
Isuzu will be using Isuzu’s M-series platform—a 4.5-ton vehicle equipped with a Euro 4-compliant engine. Complying with European standards, just like the move to comply with Euro 4-fuel compatibility, is seen as the Philippines’s attempt to enhance its environmental standards. The eco-PUV of the BOI will be similar to the Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy program, according to Bautista. He said, however, that the support of the BOI will be in the form of fixed investment support.
“The BOI is probably thinking of giving out incentives to reduce logistics cost. Like, if we invest a certain amount in tooling, the government can support the tooling costs, but we have to show proof of investment first before they give the incentives,” he said.
IPC is expected to achieve its sales target of 32,000 units by end-2017. The car company sold 28,000 units last year.