Toyota Philippines targets 10 pct output growth in 2016

MANILA, Jan 15 (Reuters) - The Philippine unit of Toyota Motor Corp is increasing its output by a tenth this year and preparing to tap Manila’s $600 million incentive programme, its president said.

The Southeast Asian nation last year launched an incentive scheme to help its tiny auto industry raise output and catch up with regional rivals.

Production will hit about 54,000 this year, up at least 10 percent from 2015, to support the targeted 20 percent growth in sales to a record 150,000, Toyota Motor Philippines President Satoru Suzuki told reporters late Thursday.

Toyota Philippines, the top automaker by sales in the Southeast Asian nation, assembles Vios and Innova models in its facility south of Manila.

The Philippines is Toyota’s fourth-largest market in Asia and 13th in the more than 170 countries globally in terms of sales.

Toyota Philippines has already bagged approval from its Japanese principal to join the Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS) incentive programme. It will entail an investment of at least one billion yen ($8.5 million) to prepare its facilities for higher output, Suzuki said.

“The CARS programme requires additional parts localisation so we have to meet such requirements. It needs investments,” Suzuki said.

Under the incentive scheme, a car firm can get incentives for that model if the model has a track record of competitiveness, plans to make new investment in assembly and targets a production volume of at least 200,000 over six years, among other requirements.

Toyota Philippines is a joint venture of Japan’s biggest automaker with Philippine conglomerate GT Capital Holdings Inc .

($1 = 117.9500 yen)

Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by Stephen Coates