Sojitz G Auto Philippines (SGAP), the importer and distributor of Geely vehicles in the country, announced that it will increase the prices of the Coolray, Azkarra, and Okavango. This came after the Bureau of Customs (BoC) has issued on Monday, a Customs Memorandum Order (CMO) acting on the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) directive to add safeguard tariff on the majority of imported vehicles.

Meantime, despite SGAP’s vehicle price hike announcement, the implementation of the increase will not be immediately applied. SGAP President & CEO Mikihisa Takayama said “the new safeguard tariff will eventually raise prices of Geely vehicles for new shipments which will arrive this month.  The good news, however, is that our customers can still enjoy the current prices since we, the distributor and our dealers still have enough inventory.”

Recently, the DTI has decided to further tax most of the imported vehicles, which according to Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, “will provide a breathing space to the domestic industry.” Under Republic Act 8800, or the Safeguard Measures Act, the DTI shall impose “a provisional safeguard measure in the form of a cash bond amounting to Php 70,000/unit for passenger cars/vehicles under AHTN Code 8703 and Php 110,000/unit for light commercial vehicles under AHTN Codes 8704.21.19 and 8704.21.29.” Furthermore, DTI said the provisional safeguard measure will run “while the case is under formal investigation by the Tariff Commission for a period of 200 days” from the day of the issuance of the BoC’s CMO.

The DTI’s move to slap additional safeguard duties on most of the imported vehicles was done in response to the petition submitted by the Philippine Metalworkers’ Alliance (PMA) that sought to save local vehicle assembly operations.

Takayama said “It is unfortunate that such policy was decided to be implemented at a time when the auto industry is expected to recover from the huge drop in sales volume last year due to the pandemic.  In spite of this, SGAP is still optimistic that the auto sales for this year will make a rebound. We also hope that the market can adjust to the new higher prices this policy will bring.” SGAP has yet to announce the price adjustments on its vehicles.