While it’s true that car dealerships will face a lot of changes in the future, the next several years still looks rosy as they continue to be the place where car buyers can physically interact with the vehicle while at the same timed remain a significant profit center in vehicle delivery and associated after-sales service.
These car dealerships will remain an important partner of auto manufacturers because they are in a better position to respond to the different needs and tastes of car buyers, ensure a satisfying customer experience every time a vehicle is serviced or repaired, and respond to problems should they arise.
And while it’s true that their role as an information channel for vehicle details will diminish, these car dealerships are discovering new ways to operate in today’s digital, omnichannel environment.
And no matter how will they be able to deal with this new reality, car dealerships, especially here in the Philippines, will continue to increase in number.
The good news is, the Philippine market still provides many investment opportunities, a reason why 2019 saw successive openings of new dealerships from various automotive brands:
Suzuki Philippines (SPH)
In October, SPH expanded its reach in the northern part of the country with the opening of a new 3S dealership (Sales, Service, and Spare Parts) in Ilocos Norte.
Suzuki Auto Ilocos Norte is Suzuki’s 77th dealership nationwide, as well as the 13th dealership under the supervision of Grand Canyon Multi-holdings, Inc., which incidentally is finishing Suzuki Auto Tagum in Davao that is set to open by May 2020. Total number of dealerships: 77
Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP)
With the recent opening of Toyota Valenzuela, TMP now has 70 dealerships across the country.
Operated by Toyota Valenzuela chairman, Franklin Lim, this dealership that is first to open in the city, features a multi-story facility featuring 10-car showroom; an expansive service area comprising of 62 service productive bays (seven bays for express maintenance, 15 bays for general jobs, 36 bays for body and paint, and four bays for periodic maintenance). Furthermore, service support bays also have a capacity of 142 units. Total number of dealerships: 70+1 (Lexus Manila)
Mitsubishi Motors Philippines (MMPC)
This year, MMPC inaugurated its 55th dealership located in Mactan, Cebu—this is the third under Fast Autoworld Philippines Corp. while at the same time, MMPC’s 10th across Visayas and Mindanao.
Boasting a total floor area of 4,500sqm, and with an eight-car showroom and 23 service bays, the new facility carries the new Mitsubishi Motors Global Corporate Identity and Visual Identity design. Total number of dealerships: 55
In October, Ford Philippines opened its 49th dealership in the country: Ford Marikina.
Operated by MOS Autosolutions, Inc. chairman Ramon Manzana, Ford Marikina boasts a total floor area of 11,000sqm that can accommodate up to eight cars for display along with 26 service bays, which include express service, body and paint, as well as three interactive bays.
The Marikina dealership is also among the facilities in the Philippines that follow “Ford Signature,” which means, this dealership is set to initiate the Ford Guest Experience program, an enhanced sales and service process that harnesses the power of technology to deliver an enhanced customer experience.
Earlier in April, this Ford Signature” was also applied in Ford Isabela as the dealership moved to a bigger and better location in Batal, Santiago City.Total number of dealerships: 49
Nissan Philippines Inc.
Nissan Philippines celebrated the first month of 2019 with the opening of a new branch along Sumulong Highway in Cainta, Rizal, beefing its network to 44 dealerships nationwide.
Nissan Sumulong is under the MGM Motors/Autohub Group of Companies, which started its partnership with the Japanese automaker back in 2004 (the other dealerships set up were Nissan Taytay in Rizal; Nissan Ortigas; and Nissan Quezon Avenue, which was appointed in 2017 as the only authorized seller and service center of the Nissan GT-R).
Nissan Sumulong sits on a 3,869sqm lot and features nine work bays, two Nissan Express Service areas, an Executive Checkup Bay, a Kids Area, and a showroom that can display up to nine vehicles.
While there were no new dealership openings that followed, Nissan Philippines retrofitted several dealerships, including Nissan Cabanatuan and Nissan Pasig, while opened its biggest service center in Cebu—the Nissan Cebu South—which is under the supervision of Nissan Cebu South. Total number of dealerships: 44
Isuzu Philippines Corp. (IPC)
With the opening of Isuzu Calapan in December, IPC now has 43 dealerships across the country. Isuzu Calapan, owned and operated by Mina de Oro Motors Inc., is the first dealership to implement Isuzu Motors’ new showroom design concept.
The 5,462-sqm dealership features an extensive showroom that can house two trucks and four passenger vehicles. It also offers a much wide vehicle lots for its six service bays which can accommodate heavy-duty trucks and offers genuine Isuzu spare parts.
Isuzu Calapan features an extensive showroom that can house two trucks and four passenger vehicles. It also offers much wider vehicle lots for its six service bays which can accommodate heavy-duty trucks and offers genuine Isuzu spare parts. Total number of dealerships: 43
Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc. (HARI)
Early this month, HARI in partnership with Shaw Automotive Resources, Inc. of LICA Group of Companies opened its 10th Hyundai Trucks and Buses dealership in Cainta, Rizal (HTB-Cainta).
The HTB-Cainta joins HARI’s other dedicated commercial vehicle (CV) dealerships that opened this year including HTB-Commonwealth (March), which is operated by Prince Motor Corp. Chairman and CEO Amando S. San Juan and HTB-Baliwag (September), which is operated by the LausAutoGroup.
These HTBs not only complies with the Hyundai Motor Company’s Global Dealership Space Identity standards but also boasts a full lineup of commercial vehicles and world-class facilities to cater to freight, payload and mass mobility requirements of all business enterprises, government and institutional customers. Total number of dealerships: 42 (passenger cars)+10 HTBs
Honda Cars Philippines, Inc. (HCPI)
In May 2019, HCPI started the construction of Honda Cars Las Piñas, its 40th dealership nationwide.
To be managed by Rizal Autozone, part of Lica Group’s string of automotive dealerships around the country, Honda Cars Las Piñas is set to open by the second quarter of 2020. Total number of dealerships: 40
It was only in January when the Kia brand was re-launched as it now operates under AC Industrials (ACI), a wholly owned subsidiary of Ayala Corp.
With ACI now the new custodian of the Kia brand in the Philippines, the Korean marque currently maintains 32 dealerships nationwide, two of which opened this year: Kia Mandaluyong and Kia North Reclamation Area in Cebu. Total number of dealerships: 32
FOTON Motor Philippines, Inc. (FMPI)
In July, FMPI inaugurated Foton Metro Clark, its 29th dealership located along McArthur Highway in Dau, Mabalacat, Pampanga.
Barely a month after inaugurating Metro Clark showroom (under the management of Laus Group of Companies), FMPI reopened a grander FOTON Cagayan De Oro (FOTON CDO). First inaugurated in 2008, FOTON CDO is the first FOTON dealership to be established outside Metro Manila.
A few month later, in October, FMPI also relaunched the 4,500-sqm General Mariano Alvarez (FOTON GMA Cavite) dealership, which is now operated by Autohub Group. Total number of dealerships: 29
With the opening of Chevrolet Cainta (operated by Lica Auto Group) in Rizal this year, Chevrolet now has a total 27 dealerships nationwide.
Chevrolet Philippines informed that it is planning to open at least five more Chevy Plus in-line stores (boutique style shops as Chevy satellite dealers). Total number of dealerships: 27
When The Covenant Car Company, Inc. (TCCCI), the same Filipino-owned group distributing Chevrolet and Volvo vehicles in the Philippines, was appointed last year as the new official distributor of MG (Morris Garages) brand, the group led by TCCCI president and managing director Atty. Alberto B. Arcilla wasted no time in putting up 24 dealerships in 2019.
These are located in Alabang, Araneta-Cubao, BF-Parañaque, Commonwealth, EDSA-Centris, Makati, Marikina, Pasig, Shaw, Quezon Avenue, Batangas, Cabanatuan, Carmona, Dasmariñas, Lipa, Pampanga, Sta. Rosa, Cebu-Mandaue, Bacolod, Iloilo, Tacloban, Cagayan De Oro, Davao, and Zamboanga.
While this may be the most number of dealership openings over a span of one year, MG Philippines promises to continue to grow its network in 2020, with the addition of new MG dealerships in key locations nationwide. Total number of dealerships: 24
Subaru/Motor Image Pilipinas
Motor Image Pilipinas, the authorized distributor of Subaru vehicles in the country, launched in April its premier dealership located right beside SM Aura in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. The 271-sqm Subaru Global City is the first dealership that follows the global standard like the use of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality (VR) in its facility. Total number of dealerships: 17
In October, Volkswagen Philippine—in partnership with Greencars Mindanao Corp. (GMC)—opened Volkswagen Cagayan de Oro, the German automaker’s first in the Mindanao region.
As Volkswagen Philippines’ 9th since it first officially started operations in 2013, Volkswagen Cagayan de Oro is just the latest of dealerships that Volkswagen Philippines has opened in 2019. In August, Volkswagen Philippines, in partnership with the Lica Auto Group’s Strasbourg Auto Corp., inaugurated Volkswagen Santa Rosa. Total number of dealerships: 9
In October, MINI Philippines and LausAutoGroup, the newly authorized distributor of MINI cars in the Philippines, opened a brand new MINI showroom at the Levy P. Laus Corporate Center in San Fernando, Pampanga. This is the first MINI showroom outside Metro Manila and in North Luzon, as well as the first MINI dealership for LausGroup, operated by Iconic Automobile Enterprise Inc. Total number of dealerships: 4
Dongfeng/Pilipinas Autogroup, Inc. (PAI)
The new official distributor of China’s Dongfeng brand of vehicles, Pilipinas Autogroup, Inc. (PAI), has inaugurated early this month their new rebranded office in Marikina City.
Dongfeng Marikina becomes the third dealership of PAI after it inaugurated its first two dealerships in Cainta, Rizal, last October and in Isabela last December.Total number of dealerships: 3
In June 2019, AC Motors, the automotive distribution and retail group of AC Industrials of the Ayala Group of Companies, launched Maxus Philippines, the sixth brand in the company’s growing motoring portfolio following its shares in Honda and Isuzu and its acquisition of the local distribution of Volkswagen, Kia, and KTM motorcycles.
With the launch, Maxus PH inaugurated its first two showrooms namely: Maxus Greenfield District in Mandaluyong City, and Maxus Cebu in the North Reclamation Area, Cebu City. Total number of dealerships: 2
Geely/Sojitz G Auto Philippines Corp. (SGAP)
In September, SGAP inaugurated its first-ever Geely showroom located in North EDSA. Offering 1,160sqm showroom and 2,600sqm service center, this is regarded as one of the biggest in the Philippines.
Charles E. Buban is an old timer in the Philippine automotive journalism scene. He first started covering the automotive beat in 2003, writing news and reviews of new models and car tech, among other car-related stuff. When not writing about cars, he could often be seen riding his mountain bike or doing long walks in the hope of catching a couple of legendary Pokemons.