DaimlerChrysler AG is mulling over establishing an assembly plant in the Philippines.

Sources in Manila tell local media that DC is being wooed by the government’s trade department for an automotive export program. (see related story: Philippines Wants U.S. Auto Maker to Build Assembly Plant)

A government insider says in reports that DC is impressed with the Philippines’ new motor vehicle development program (MVDP).

“They liked the new MVDP because it clearly defined the parameters of participation,” the source is quoted as saying. “Nothing’s definite, since they’re still in the initial phase of considering alternative locations.”

At present, DC imports completely built-up units (CBUs) into the Philippines through a licensing arrangement with a Cebu-based local assembler.

In the Philippines, commercial vehicle sales have accounted for most of the growth in the domestic market since the 1997 Asian financial crisis, comprising more than 70% of total industry sales for the year’s first quarter.

Local assemblers, however, have yet to export their commercial vehicles.

The Philippine government is eyeing the participation of about three assemblers under the CBU export component of its MVDP. Ford Motor Co. Philippines Inc. was the first to take up the government's challenge to export CBU units, with projected shipments this year of about 14,000 units.

Honda Cars Philippines Inc. also has expressed interest in the export program, and expects to ship out its first batch of vehicles by the end of next year at the earliest.

Under its motor vehicle development program, the government is targeting an annual production of 250,000 to 300,000 units, 20% of which would be shipped to foreign markets.