Active auto industry equals robust economy

MOTORING TODAY - Rey Gamboa - The Philippine Star

Economists say that if you want to have an idea of a country’s financial health, the Philippines no exception, look closely at its auto industry—the tale-telling economic barometer.

Considering that economists, just like lawyers from opposing sides, seldom agree, there must be some truth to it.  Having said that, our nation must be in stable economic grounds considering the fact that auto dealerships are currently sprouting almost everywhere and with such regularity—not to mention the entry of new brands.

Last week another two new car dealerships were formally opened.


Volkswagen’s flagship showroom

Automobile Central Enterprise, Inc. (ACEI), the official distributors of Volkswagen in the country and one of the companies under the Ayala Corporation umbrella inaugurated its flagship showroom—Volkswagen BGC in simple ceremonies led by Ayala Corporation president & coo, Mr. Fernando Zobel de Ayala and its chairman, Mr. Jaime Agusto Zobel de Ayala marking one of the sibling-tycoons rare appearances together in a corporate event. They were joined in the ribbon-cutting ceremony of this automotive facility with more than 6,000 square meters of floor area that can showcase up to eighteen automobiles, by ACEI president & ceo, Mr. John Philip “JP” Orbeta.   

Located at the Bonifacio Global City (28th Street City Center, BGC), what is vaunted as “the most innovative and digitalized showroom in the country” boasts of using the latest Volkswagen Interactive Showroom application, the second in the world to offer such technology, next to that of Volkswagen Hong Kong‘s showroom.

During the application’s demonstration that preceded the ceremonies JP proudly declared, “Volkswagen’s tradition has always been synonymous with innovation. It is with this value that we derived inspiration from for the construction of our flagship showroom. Aside from our vehicles that feature pioneering technologies, we wanted our dealership to also reflect the same principles and ideals that embody the best of what this German brand has to offer by powering it with the latest showroom technology available.”

The Volkswagen Interactive Showroom features four multipurpose tables that will allow customers to browse the latest VW models, features and specifications, download e-brochures, watch videos about various technologies and learn more about Volkswagen as a company using RFID technology. Through the touch-screen display, one can have e-brochure and quotation sent via e-mail to one’s address.     

Talk of being customer-friendly. Congratulations, Volkswagen Philippines.


“Star Power” now comes to the auto industry

The name Dingdong Dantes is no longer exclusive to the Showbiz world with the movie-TV celebrity’s recent entry into the undeniably exciting automotive industry by way of the newly opened Hyundai Paranaque West auto dealership. 

Located along Ninoy Aquino avenue (formerly Imelda ave.) cor. Pelaez st. (near PAGCOR) Paranaque City, this new Hyundai Showroom and Full-Service automotive facility is projected to power up the presence of the Korean brand in this south of Metro Manila business hub.

During the media conference that came after the blessing of the newly-constructed building, the business-minded showbiz personality who’s into his first auto business venture welcomed members of the motoring media and guests saying, “Now, my friends and colleagues who live in this part of town have a Hyundai Center of Excellence close to home—a state-of-the –art dealership designed to serve and to delight.  Dingdong, who’s the dealership’s vice president and coo added, “Today, we seal our commitment to Hyundai and thank HARI (Hyundai Asia Resources Inc.) for placing their trust in this new dealership. Yes, we are ready to drive Hyundai to brand leadership in Paranaque.”

Leading the Friday (February 7) late afternoon inauguration rites was HARI’s very young-looking lady president and CEO, Ms. Ma. Fe Perez-Agudo who proudly welcomed the new dealership to their fold, “It’s about time to kick off another phase in Hyundai’s journey in the Philippines by changing the way people view new dealerships. A Hyundai dealership is not just a place where you can buy a car. It is a center of excellence for a brilliant customer experience, manned by a staff that passionately strives to level up in sales and service to surprise, delight, win and keep the person that matters most to us—the customer.”

            One of the principals of WIT Auto Group Corporation, which owns the dealership is Buhay Party-List Representative, Congressman Irwin Tieng (from the family that owns the extensive Solar business enterprise of property development, movies, television, etc.) considers “the dealership’s wide showroom and the expansive service area as the distinguishing factors that place it way above the level of the rest, aside of course from the expertly-trained personnel that run it.”

All the best to HARI and Hyundai Paranaque West for a very successful and well-attended inauguration.


Bigger. Longer. Grander.

The inauguration turned out to be a dual grand event for HARI, as the newest variant of Hyundai’s multi-awarded crossover SUV—the Grand Santa Fe also had its official public unveiling.             

This new generation Hyundai SUV is considered worlds apart from the earlier models starting with its bigger body that offers more leg room and passenger space. The Grand Santa Fe has a 6-seat configuration that features large “captain’s chairs” on the second row that you can recline and slide. Add to this the panoramic sunroof that offers a wider view of the open skies. Inside its large interior is also a cool box for refreshments during long drives and dedicated air conditioner in the third row for its passengers to separately control.

Some of the distinguishing technical features of the Grand Santa Fe include its Flex Steer function that offers three modes of steering—Normal for on-road and occasional off-road driving; Comfort for city drives and Sport for challenging terrain. Its 2.2-liter CRDi (Common Rail Direct Injection) eVGT diesel engine churns top horsepower of 197 ps @ 3,800 rpm and 44.5 kg-m of torque @ 1,800-2,500 rpm is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission.

This newly-launched Grand Santa Fe would undoubtedly be part of Hyundai’s wide array of car models that would be available for close scrutiny during the “Auto Focus Summer Test Drive Festival” scheduled on the last weekend of April at the Mall of Asia Concert Grounds, where the country’s major automobile manufacturers and importers would be participating. 

Congratulations to HARI for the Grand Santa Fe’s successful public unveiling.


Lexus Gallery at Robinson’s Magnolia

Though not the size of a full-fledged showroom, the formal opening of the Lexus satellite display at the Robinson’s Magnolia Mall had the trappings of a grand event, what with the presence of top executives and business tycoons—there was Lexus Manila chairman and Toyota Motor Philippines’ ever youthful-looking vice-chairman, Alfred Ty; the down-to-earth and very friendly Gokongwei siblings—Lance, president of JG Summit, and Lisa, president of Summit Media; Frederick Go, president of Robinson’s Land; “the rocker of a president” of Toyota Motor Philippines, Michinobu Sugata, and Daniel “Sir John” Isla, president of Lexus Manila.

“This quaint gallery designed to display one or two Lexus models and a variety of Lexus merchandising items actually opened last December. And I just thought of inviting a small group of motoring journalists for coffee and to take a look-see,” Danny “Sir John” Isla confided over lunch that proceeded after the simple ribbon-cutting ceremony. “But when Alfred, our chairman learned about it, he thought that it would be fitting to invite the Gokongweis, who own Robinson’s Magnolia to the event and of course, our TMP president must be there too. So I said why not invite all the top guns of the motoring media as well. So, this gathering of big wigs in this small event” the formidable Texas Hold’em player and Lexus Manila top executive jokingly added.

Well, any Lexus event can never be small, and this one is no exception.                                          


Pepsi goes “green”

A pioneering partnership was recently forged between popular beverage maker Pepsi-Cola Products Phils. (PCPPI) and 100% Filipino-owned e-trike manufacturer/assembler EMotors, Inc. to promote the use of clean, green, zero-emission electric vehicles. This significant “save the environment” development was relayed to us by Beth Lee, former CAMPI president who now heads EMotors, Inc.

“Pepsi-Cola is pleased to partner with EMotors in integrating zero-emission vehicles in our distribution fleet. This will enable us to deliver our world-class products to even more communities with minimum environmental impact,” says PCPPI president Partho Chakrabarti.

“We are proud to partner with Pepsi as a company that “walks their talk”, is a socially-responsible corporate citizen, one that truly cares for the environment, while at the same time understands the economic benefits of using the ZUM electric vehicles,” declares Elizabeth H. Lee, EMotors president.

EMotors, the makers of ZUM e-trikes is the first manufacturer and assembler of electric 3-wheelers to be registered with the Board of Investment’s Motor Vehicle Development Program and also the first to be registered with the Investments Priority Plan and accredited with the Land Transportation Office.

Indeed a partnership for the environment. Congratulations to Pepsi and EMotors!

Happy Motoring!!!

For comments email motoringtoday-star@stv.com.ph / sunshine.television@yahoo.com.

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