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Toyota PH throws a virtual party to welcome the facelifted version of the country’s best-selling sub-compact

There’s a new Wigo in town, and the entry-level variant will only set you back P568,000.

Subcompact cars going for P600,000 or less have been seen as the viable alternative for young professionals with tight budgets who opt to minimize their exposure to life-threatening viruses by buying their own cars. It is for this reason that many industry experts see a surge in demand, initially for used vehicles, then eventually for brand new but affordable cars, the obvious advantages for buying brand new being the worry-free driving, the warranties, and just the pure satisfaction of calling a never-before-used car your very own.

Thus, with the eased restrictions on inter-city travel brought about by the general community quarantine (GCQ) public health status, Toyota Motor Philippines’ perfectly timed interactive digital reveal of the new Wigohatchback the afternoon of June 15—first to the motoring media and then to the general public via Facebook Live—caught the full attention of an online audience; more so when the prices of the four variants were revealed. The entry-level starts at P568,000, going all the way up to P700,000. Plus, the new Wigo comes with the free one-year insurance.

It wasn’t just the fact that the Wigo launch was TMP’s first-ever online public reveal. Much more of the hype and anticipation surrounding the digital unveiling hinged on the Pinoy motorist’s affinity with the hatchback. The Wigo is purportedly the Philippines’ best-selling entry-level hatchback. Introduced in the country in 2014, Wigodominated its market from the get-go, and never let go.

“As it appeals to a broad spectrum of customers, the Toyota Wigo enjoys a market share of 69 percent in the low-cost passenger car segment as of the end of 2019. It has been the car of choice for young professionals, young couples just starting a family, and even university students. The New Wigo remains an iconic car that offers the same familiar feeling of practicality and reliability; but made more advanced; more convenient and safe; and more fun with its sleek and sporty TRD Styling,” said Toyota Motor Philippines president Atsuhiro Okamoto during his welcome remarks.

The inspiration for the new look of the Wigo, according to TMP, stems from a base of young customers who want a sportier, more dynamic vehicle, which is why the design direction or philosophy has been to make the Wigo low, wide and more dynamic.

The sleek and sporty styling Okamoto refers to is more pronounced in the high-end variants of the new Wigo, which now comes with the push-start button and steering switch, as well as LCD touch panel type A/C for the TRD S and G variants. The power retract and adjust side mirrors make rear visibility easily adjustable, and parking is more convenient and beginner friendly with the new back camera that comes in the TRD S and G variants. The TRD kit also includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, Voice Command Feature, and a class-leading Digital Video Recorder. All variants come with Power Door Lock and a new instrument panel design for easier access to controls, as well as SRS airbags for the driver and front passenger, back sonar, and Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS).

TMP First Vice President for Vehicle Sales Operations Sherwin Chua Lim told the media during the June 15 press conference: “With the launch of this new Wigo, we would like the challenge to have the same market share. Our highest was 69 percent. We would want to continue our number one position in this segment.”

Chua Lim disclosed that currently, TMP’s financing partner, Toyota Financial Services (TFS), offers a payment holiday and low downpayment for frontlinersand health workers. “A payment holiday would mean the first monthly payment will be paid after two months. This offer is currently being offered to them as a social package from Toyota.”

Chualim also confirmed that TMP has received reports from dealers that there has been an initial surge in first-time car buyers and additional car buyers.

“The reasons stated were due to limited public transportation, and personal preference for safety. For our case, the new Wigo is actually a perfect vehicle for these customers due to its price, practicality and fuel efficiency. The launch is very timely due to the surge of demand for the entry-level segment cars. The Wigo is the best car to buy for these kinds of customers,” Chualim stressed.

TMP revealed that 28 percent of Wigo customers pay in cash. For the remaining 72 percent that rely on financing, and for would-be buyers who can’t resolve this nagging question, “Should I buy brand new or secondhand?”, TMP says it has all the financing bases covered.

TMP senior vice president Jing Atienza said during the same event: “During the quarantine period, we noted also some movement towards used cars, and it’s also understandable because of the price levels of used cars. There may be some competition there between used cars and affordable new cars like the Wigo, but in both ways we can support such customers (through) the Toyota Certified Used Vehicles (TCUV) and our financial services arm TFS, to provide packages for customers to make the Wigo more affordable.”

TMP First Vice President for Brand and Product Planning Cluster Cristina Arevalo added, “It’s really been difficult lately, and banks are getting stricter with their requirements. In response, TFS extends its support to buyers with better rates by offering low downpaymentand a 2-month payment holiday. To support our medical health workers, police and military personnel, TFS launched the Frontliners Promo which offers lower downpayment at 15 percent.

“TFS will also be launching what we call the Toyota Connected Auto Loan. This gives customers more chances of being approved by having a connected device in their vehicle once they purchase.

“But I would like to add some other options that our customers can avail of. For example, aside from buying a new car, using the connected auto loan as a means to get approval, there’s another option like the used-car financing. TFS also provides financing packages for TCUV. Coming soon is the car subscription service that we will be introducing through TFS, called Kinto, and this does not require any downpayment, just a deposit from our customers. With just a deposit, they can avail of selected vehicles that will be part of the program. There will be four pilot models for this Kinto program and this will be introduced in Metro Manila dealers, and launched within the month.”

In a way, the launch of the new Wigo could also signify TMP’s openness to adapt to the “new normal” in vehicle marketing and sales. TMP First Vice President Rommel Gutierrez, who is also Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc (Campi) president, said: “The automotive industry will stay. In the meantime, we will exert efforts to recover. We are picking up, actually, from last month’s sale industry wide. This year we will not be able to reach the level we had last year, but we are confident that though we may have slow sales this year, next year would be better.”

TMP also announced that all its vehicles undergo a 40-point sanitation procedure in all of its dealers when these are being serviced. Even new vehicles prior to release to customers also undergo complete sanitation, which covers all frequently touched areas. Recently, it also offered a free disinfecting process called Baktaklenz.

Arevalo assured, “Our priority right now is to ensure the safety of our customers, our employees and our dealers. We established standard operating procedures in accordance with WHO and DOH protocols. We are now using digital tools to make our customers safer and more convenient.”

She cited mytoyota.ph, where customers can book their service appointments online anytime, anywhere. This also includes features like notifications prior to appointment. Customers can access items and job estimates for their vehicles. There is also the recently launched virtual showroom, which gives customers the full dealership experience in a digital platform. They can view their preferred models, including the interior and exterior, and a 360-degree view, then check out product brochures and videos, and calculate payment terms and even submit information to their preferred dealers.

IN PHOTO: With face masks on and safe distancing followed, Toyota Motor PH president Atsuhiro Okamoto (fourth from right) is joined by the other top officials of TMP in presenting the new Wigo in a virtual launch. Joining him are, from left, Nico Bravante, (Vice President, Product Planning), Rainnier Gregorio (First Vice President, Customer Service Operations), Sherwin Chualim (First Vice President, Vehicle Sales Operations), Kei Mizuguchi (Executive Vice President, Marketing), Jose Maria Atienza (Senior Vice President, Marketing), Cristina Arevalo (First Vice President, Brand and Product Planning Cluster) and Atty. Rommel Gutierrez (First Vice President, Corporate Affairs Group)

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