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Nissan seeks gov’t support in plan to bring in EVs

NISSAN PHILIPPINES, Inc. is planning to introduce its electric vehicle (EV), the Nissan Leaf, to the local market this year.

Nissan Philippines President and Managing Director Atsushi Najima said at an online press conference on Thursday that the company is still at the stage of educating the Filipino market about electric vehicles.

“We have customer needs already so that’s why we want to go with Leaf introduction within this calendar year,” he said.

Mr. Najima said the firm is working with government agencies for potential support as it imports electric vehicles.

“Originally, import duty of EV is some percentage, but for gasoline engine or diesel engine is much lower import rate so that’s why we are asking if future of mobility is the EV, can we get government support.”

The recently imposed additional safeguard duties on imported cars exempt electric vehicles.

Nissan Philippines announced that it will shut its Almera assembly in Laguna by March, and will continue to sell to the country through its regional network. Mr. Najima said that the closure is not related to the safeguard duties or the pandemic, but is part of a global restructuring plan announced last year.

“We announced globally in Japan in May 2020, so this means… thinking or analysis was done before. So that’s why this is before pandemic or before safeguards.”

The import strategy of the company this year, he said, will depend on the decision of the Tariff Commission on the potential retention of the safeguard duties.

Nissan shut its plant in Indonesia last year and plans to close plants in Spain. The Japanese automaker announced last year that it would cut 20% of its product lineup and annual production capacity.

Nissan sales in the country declined 49.1% to 21,751 units in 2020 as overall car industry sales plummeted during the lockdown declared to contain the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). — Jenina P. Ibañez

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