Isuzu eyes joining PUV modernization program

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A jeepney traverses Metro Manila's congested road network. The DOTr is pushing a massive modernization program for public utility vehicles, but transport groups led by PISTON say the plan will bankrupt thousands of small operators and render jeepney drivers jobless, and are calling a nationwide strike on Monday (Oct 16). PNA FILE PHOTO

MANILA – Isuzu Philippines Corp. (IPC) is eyeing to join the Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) Modernization Program of the government by assembling the next generation of jeepneys.

IPC president and Chief Executive Officer, Hajime Koso, told reporters that the car company has a prototype of the next-generation jeepney that will be presented to the government next month.

Koso said IPC will be phasing out its manufacturing in the Philippines of Crosswind models by next year since the government requires cars to be Euro 4-compliant.

As IPC phases out Crosswind production it can accommodate the assembly of the jeepneys for the PUV Modernization Program, the IPC chief said.

Koso said IPC is waiting for the incentives that the government may provide to support the production of PUVs under the modernization program.

He added that this can be similar to the Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS) Program of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), giving fixed investments incentives, incentives on tooling, and subsidizing certain portion of the production.

Under the PUV Modernization Program, the government wants to lift the standards of PUVs, making it safe for commuters and lessen its pollution to the environment.

The modernization program eyes to phase out some 200,000 jeepneys which are over 15 years old and replace them with next generation PUVs.