Right after the 500,000th Toyota car rolled out of the assembly plant in Santa Rosa, Laguna, n Thursday, Philippine Economic Zone Authority director-general Leila de Lima immediately went down to business and huddled with the Japanese carmaker’s top executives in the region.
Her proposition: for Toyota to make up for its flood-damaged factories in Vietnam and Thailand by expanding the company’s Philippine operations. In the process, put an end to the supply disruptions denting the carmaker’s sales in Asia and the Pacific.
“You have the product and the technology, we have the land and the human resources,” the agile De Lima told Takahiro Iwase, regional chief of Toyota Motor Asia Pacific.
Michinobu Sugata, president of Toyota Motor Philippines Corp., went into bi-lingual mode, conveying De Lima’s proposition to his boss, making sure nothing is lost in translation.
What Iwase asked from De Lima was the assurance that government support — including infrastructure — will be forthcoming so that Toyota can easily move its cars from the factory to their markets.
The PEZA chief vowed the Philippine government will give what the company needs. “Let’s have a meeting and talk this over,” she told Toyota’s regional chief.
She told the Japanese the Port of Batangas is practically new and easily accessible from the Santa Rosa factory.
After that brief exchange, the Japanese officials went to tour their Santa Rosa factory, except for Sugata who was “ambushed” by reporters.— ELR,