By Michelle R. Guillang
TOKYO – Toyota Motor Philippines plans to invest P4.4 billion for the “new generation Tamaraw project,” its president revealed in an interview over the weekend.
In an interview with Toyota Motor Philippines president Atsuhiro Okamoto with the Philippine media here, he confirmed reports that the firm is reviving the Tamaraw model to provide more affordable commercial vehicles for small business owners.
“We were committed to investing the P4.4 billion for a light commercial vehicle that’s called in Toyota Innovative International Multi-Purpose Vehicle-zero project. Do you know the Tamaraw in the past?” he told reporters.
“It’s the new generation Tamaraw project. We will enter this in the IMV 0 in the near future. Of course, it is going to be local production and manufacturing in Santa Rosa, Laguna,” he added.
Okamoto, however, noted that the revival of the Tamaraw model will not be commercially available this year but disclosed that the new version will look like a “utility van.”
“We want to contribute to the Philippine society, and industry, especially to the micro, small, and medium enterprises. The current HiLux’s price position is a little bit higher, so we need to introduce more affordable commercial vehicles for MSMEs,” he said.
The business leader was interviewed during a send-off dinner Toyota hosted for the Philippine delegation to Tokyo.
The President earlier welcomed Toyota’s plan to bring back the popular car model, saying that the Tamaraw has been a dependable utility transport for many years for Filipinos.
“Many of the Tamaraws you’ve recently built are still on the road,” he said, describing the Toyota Tamaraw as the company’s “workhorse”, he said during his meeting with Toyota executives last week.