The president of the 17-member Association of Vehicle Importers and Distributors Inc (Avid) has some sobering news about the local motoring industry.
“With the recently announced lockdown extension, car sales may further drop to around 30 to 40 percent for the year,” Fe Perez Agudo said recently to Inquirer Motoring.
Agudo, who is also the president and CEO of Hyundai Asia Resources Inc (Hari), the official distributor of Hyundai vehicles in the country, was referring to the declaration of the IATF-EID (Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases) extending the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine up to April 30, and how this would affect the auto industry’s businesses and operations.
“The two biggest auto markets in the world, namely China and the United States, have reported significant declines in sales. China reported an 80-percent drop in February. Last month, US automakers reported declines of up to 50 percent. The challenge is two-pronged. Production has stopped in almost all automobile factories worldwide while demand has declined as consumers spend on more urgent needs,” she said.
Agudo added that global automotive sales in 2020 is seen to drop at least by 15 percent versus 2019.
“The drop is significantly higher than the decline of 8 percent during the last global recession from 2008 to 2009. More than a financial crisis, CoViD-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) is an invisible crisis that is slowly taking lives and depleting economies worldwide,” she said.
Agudo added that it would take up to 12 months for the local industry to return to normalcy after the enhanced community quarantine is lifted, saying that after CoViD-19, there will be a “new normal” and the industry must be quick to adapt since Filipino consumers will be even more prudent and would look for more value in their purchases.
“The government expects 230,000 OFWs to return to the country, directly impacting remittances and dollar reserves. This scenario stands to further erode our OFW automotive buyer base, which accounts for a substantial portion of local auto sales,” Agudo explained.
“Like other auto brands, the ECQ will definitely set Hari back in terms of sales targets, product launches, and the like. Despite these setbacks, one thing you can be sure of, we have not been just sitting down, twiddling our fingers. Once the lockdown is lifted, Hari will be ready and at the frontlines of business recovery. There is life after CoViD. We do not know how it will look, but I am confident in the tried and tested resilience of the Filipino,” said Agudo.
Customer and frontliner care
In the meantime, Hari assures it would extend the coverage of all Hyundai passenger car owners whose warranties lapsed within the enhanced community quarantine period until May 31, 2020. Hyundai vehicle owners currently enjoy an industry-first 5-year unlimited mileage warranty.
“We understand that customers have no access to vehicle servicing during these extraordinary times. We wish to set their minds at ease by extending their warranty coverage,” Agudo said.
Worldwide, Hyundai Motor Company has extended the warranty coverage of an estimated 1.2 million vehicles.
Hari’s Hyundai CARES (Customer Assistance and Response) Center, which has been operational since 2015, is available round-the-clock through social media and e-mail channels.
It also has its “Quaran-Tips,” an online campaign that started out with car care and sanitizing advice and has since expanded into physical and mental wellness reminders.
“Since the start of the quarantine, we have been able to reach and share helpful information to about 205,000 followers and customers through social media. We will reach out to more,” said Agudo.
Agudo said that Hyundai Motor Company (HMC) has been very supportive and closely monitoring the situation in the Philippines.
“We are closely collaborating with HMC to facilitate the donation of badly needed medical supplies to the Philippines,” said Agudo.
“As you already know, Korea exemplifies best practices in flattening the curve and is on the road to recovery. Given this, HMC is in a much more favorable position relative to other auto manufacturers,” she added.
Hari also announced it was mobilizing support for frontliners with an initial donation of 2,500 personal protective equipment (PPEs) to a public hospital. This would be followed by the distribution of PPEs to other public health facilities, and schools and churches where frontliners are housed.
“We are closely monitoring CoViD-19 developments and we are one with the nation in fighting this epidemic. We are in awe and are grateful to our medical workers who are tirelessly working to protect and care for all their patients. Mabuhay kayo,” Agudo said.