TOKYO — Toyota Motor Philippines Corp., the local subsidiary of Japanese multinational carmaker Toyota, is bringing back its popular but long phased-out Tamaraw model to the country.
In an interview with members of the Philippine media here on Saturday night, Toyota Motor Philippines president Atsuhiro Okamoto said, “We were committed to invest the P4.4 billion for light commercial vehicle — LCV, that’s called in Toyota IMV (Innovative International Multi-purpose Vehicle)-zero project, like do you know the Tamaraw in the past?”
“It’s the new generation Tamaraw project. We will enter this in the IMV-zero in the near future. Of course local production, manufacturing… in Santa Rosa,” Okamoto said.
Toyota Motor Philippines has an assembly plant in Santa Rosa, Laguna.
Toyota’s investment commitment was among the 35 agreements and pledges inked during President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s five-day official visit in Japan.
Asked when the production of the new generation Tamaraw will commence, Okamoto said, “Very secret, coming soon. Not this year unfortunately, but coming soon.”
Okamoto said the company has been contemplating on reviving the Tamaraw model for “more than two years… since 2020.”
“We want to contribute to the Philippine society, industry, especially MSMEs (micro, small, and medium enterprises). But current Hilux, the price position is a little bit higher. So we need to introduce more affordable commercial vehicle for MSMEs, especially micro and small enterprises,” he said.
The Toyota executive said the new generation Tamaraw “will be different.”
“We will prepare a conversion for the upper body, like a utility van,” he said.
Marcos has welcomed the plan of the Japanese carmaker to bring back its popular Tamaraw model to the Philippine market.
“Many of the Tamaraws you've recently built are still on the road," Marcos told Toyota officials, describing the Tamaraw model as the company's "workhorse."
Okamoto said that apart from producing the new Tamaraw model locally, Toyota will also “integrate service with productivity, we will provide such mobility, total mobility solutions to the customers.” —KG, GMA Integrated News