Pioneering mobility group celebrates 30thanniversary in 2021
The only way is up—so a classic song goes, and certainly the sentiment of the automotive industry after the precipitous sales decline of 2020.
As the steward of several stalwart automotive brands in the Philippines, Ayala Corporations subsidiary AC Motors certainly feels that way. AC Motors started the year off on a hopeful note, announcing that it is launching six new models and opening six showrooms in anticipation of an automotive return to course starting in 2021.
AC Motors is targeting to reach at least 10 percent market share in the Philippines by 2025. The company currently has five automobile brands in its portfolio: Honda, Isuzu, Kia, Maxus, and Volkswagen, in addition to motorcycle brand KTM.
The group’s first automotive brand was Honda. Ayala group brought in the Honda car brand and launched the country’s first Honda dealership in 1991. Isuzu followed in 1996. Additional brands followed rapidly starting in 2013. AC Motors acquired exclusive distributorship for German auto brand Volkswagen, South Korea’s Kia in January 2019, then Sino-British Maxus brand of light commercial vehicles in June 2019.
AC sees its business evolving from distributorship and dealerships, into a company that will serve the mobility needs of a significant part of the Philippine market. AC Motors automotive group President Antonio “Toti” Zara III said, “Through all these times, whether facing challenges or opportunities, we at AC Motors have always placed our customers—the Filipino motorists—at the front and center of our plans. Our unwavering commitment to serve our customers and provide them the products best suited for their needs have kept us moving, adapting, growing, and innovating.”
2020 started off on a tense note, with the eruption of Taal Volcano. Then came the Covid-19 pandemic, which wreaked havoc on all types of businesses. The automotive market was not spared, as many customers were suddenly financially challenged. The ongoing lockdown, already the world’s longest, also put a damper on mobility and sales transactions.
Auto companies adjusted to the situation, with many opening virtual showrooms and digitizing operations to allow contact-free transactions. AC Motors launched its umbrella website www.acmotors.com.ph
2021 sees AC Motors launching the Maxus D60 midsize SUV. The Maxus D60 will probably enter the ever-popular category with a 7-seat variant. The expected engine is a 1.5-liter turbocharged petrol engine with 170ps and 250Nm, mated to a 7-speed dual clutch transmission. We only wish that Maxus had kept the Tarantula name from the concept.
The D60 will be one of six new cars that AC Motors will launch in 2021. The company will also open six company-owned showrooms, in addition to franchised dealerships. So the future looks brighter for this fledgling division of one of the country’s most respected conglomerates. Ayala is known for its vision and excellence, so we remain excited for the future of this automotive group.
Zara adds: “What gives us this confidence are the fundamental innovations we are applying in order to cope with the events of 2020. These included the necessary adjustments in the way we interact with our customers, re-allocation of strategic investments, diversification of our business models, and a thorough digitalization of our practices. By the time the pandemic passes and the industry recovers, we will be more than ready to shift into higher gear.”