Suzuki unveils $26M facility

Japan’s Suzuki Motor Corp. will build a motorcycle factory in the Philippines that will more than double its production capacity in the Southeast Asian nation, the firm said.

Suzuki will invest about 2.1 billion yen ($26 million) to construct the plant, which will be located in in Canlubang, Laguna and will have an annual production capacity of around 200,000 units.

The Japanese vehicle maker is building the new facility, slated to begin operations in June 2012, because it is unable to expand its existing Philippines plant, which has an annual production capacity of about 85,000 units, a spokesman said.

In 2010, the motorcycle market in the Philippines grew 19 percent year-on-year to around 760,000 units, according to Suzuki.

Suzuki’s project led the June approvals of the Board of Investments.

BOI said based on its registration, the facility would produce 175,200 units of motorcycles per year and 8,469 pieces of parts and components

Once this plant is operational, Suzuki would convert its existing Pasig facility as marketing and sales office, training and safety riding center, showroom and service center.

Suzuki Philippines, Inc. recently broke ground for the construction of the facility led by the chairman of Suzuki Motor Corp., Osamu Suzuki and the president of Suzuki Philippines, Satoshi Uchida, as well as executives and representatives from the brand.

As the only integrated motorcycle and automobile company in the Philippines, Suzuki Philippines the new plant to accommodate the rapidly increasing sales demand.

"Suzuki has always remained at the forefront of the industry, but in recent years, our current plant could no longer keep up with the rising demands of the consumers." said Uchida. "We reached the decision to build a new plant that can accommodate all our plans, and ensure that our products remain value-packed yet innovative and original."

The current plant had reached the maximum capacity of 8,000 units per month, prompting Suzuki Philippines to create a new plant.

With the motorcycle industry growing at a robust rate, more and more consumers sought to own a motorcycle, with the vehicle becoming a widely accepted means of transportation in the country.

Plans for a new plant also came about in accordance to Suzuki Philippines’ goal of "Double Up in 2011."

Conceived in 2009, Suzuki Philippines pushed to increase sales volume by double at the end of the year 2011 for both the motorcycle and automobile sectors.

"Suzuki has contributed so much to the Philippine Motorcycle Industry," said Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo. "The Philippines and Japan have had a long history of robust economic ties. And this investment shows confidence in a long-term and viable condition for the country. We hope that someday it can become a center for the Asian motorcycle industry."

Suzuki Philippines is confident that the introduction of a new plant will contribute greatly to the motorcycle industry. They will be able to create more motorcycle units and will be able to respond faster to market’s demands, as the plant will be equipped with better machines and processes. Productivity will be improved and more streamlined, as SPH envisions a "one stop shop" where assembly, manufacturing and warehousing of motorcycles will fall under one roof.

Moreover, the opening of the plant will make way for the creation of a number of jobs for the Filipinos.

The facility would open in July 2012.

In his speech at the groundbreaking rites,

Suzuki, Suzuki Philippines was established in 1985 in Pasig City where it continues to manufacture, assemble and sell Suzuki motorcycles up to now. Aside from this, Suzuki Philippines started in 2009 to import big motorcycles made in Japan as a result of the EPA between Japan and the Philippines.

Suzuki said in 2010, its motorcycle sales in the Philippines reached 81,538 units, which is 148.6 percent growth from the previous year. .(With a report from Reuters)