Just recently Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc. made the transition from importer/distributor of Hyundai automobiles to car manufacturer/assembler with the commencement of production of the Eon minicompact at their plant in Laguna.
But just as Eon production was starting to get into full swing, it seems Hyundai is looking at another model to produce in the Philippines, and that model is the Creta crossover. The information comes from a source privy to the evaluation of the Creta for local consumption.
The Hyundai Creta, like the Eon before it, is produced in India, a country which the Philippines -through ASEAN- has no free trade agreement (FTA) with. As such Hyundai has to pay full duties on the Creta when imported from India, and so HARI has to make some adjustments to the specs to make the vehicle competitive, price-wise.
In contrast, vehicles produced in ASEAN enjoy special tax breaks when exported and imported amongst the member countries in the region, which is why a good number of models from competitor brands are able to be priced competitively without sacrificing the company's profit margins.
Just last year a new FTA between ASEAN and Korea (AKFTA) came into effect, thereby reducing the taxes on vehicles from South Korea, but not the Creta and the Eon.
Our contact says the possibility of domestic production for the Creta hinges on local demand. Hyundai introduced the Creta crossover at a motorshow earlier in the year, and has already commenced taking reservations on the new crossovers. The initial response, by all indicators, are that the number of reservations are very positive.
If it pushes through, the Creta would join the Eon, Vios, Mirage, Almera, City, Innova, Crosswind, and others as proudly Philippine made automobiles.