It was almost a year ago when Honda Cars Philippines (HCPI) announced the impending shutdown of its manufacturing facility in Sta. Rosa, Laguna. While the news might have sent chills to the market then, that move actually made the Japanese brand more responsive to today’s challenges.
“Being a distributor enabled us to streamline our operations and focus our effort and resources in ensuring our products reach our customers in the fastest and most cost-efficient manner,” said HCPI president Masahiko Nakamura (shown in photo) who took over the reins of the company a week after the plant officially closed on March 25, 2020.
He explained that the closure of the Manufacturing Division of HCPI where the City and the BR-V models were built fits in the global strategy of Honda worldwide.
“This is optimization of efforts in production operations. This greatly helped us maximize the capabilities of all Honda offices globally while maintaining top quality products and excellent customer service, most especially during these trying times,” Nakamura explained.
This somehow enable HCPI deal with the pandemic and its harsh impact to the country’s automotive industry.
“The year 2020 has been a challenging one for everyone. Nevertheless, it opened a window of opportunity for HCPI to continuously be of service to the Filipino people. One notable momentous point in 2020 for HCPI is the celebration of our 30th anniversary here in the Philippines last October,” said Nakamura.
Despite the situation, Nakamura said that they were able to celebrate the milestone event to communicate their gratitude to customers and to assure them that Honda will always be looking after their needs.
The biggest highlight of their 30 years in the Philippine automotive industry, he said, is being able to provide innovative products, and excellent customer service.
For 2021, Nakamura assured to continue to assert HCPI’s commitment in doing its very best to address the needs and wants of its customers, through innovation and enabling mobility for everyone.
This includes new ways of serving customer needs such as the Virtual@Honda webpage, offering products through online platforms such as Lazada, and introducing new services such as the One Day paint repair.
Honda customers can also look forward to the launch of new models this year.
The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed HCPI’s operations and strategies in different ways.
“While we already headed in that direction, the pandemic gave us a slight nudge to adapt to the new normal through maximizing the digital platform. In June 2020, we have announced the launch of our website’s new feature, the Auto Loan Link Page. The aim of this new feature is to provide an easier and safer way for our customers to apply for an auto loan with Honda’s official bank partners.
“In the website, there is a separate Auto Loan page with a list of various participating banks, which the customers may choose from. Once the customer selects their chosen bank, they will be immediately directed to the bank’s auto loan website. This is one of Honda’s ways in adapting to the new normal and in helping our customers have a more convenient way of purchasing a car, while staying at home,” described Nakamura.
This new strategy complements well to HCPI’s VIRTUAL@Honda. While it is easy to navigate, user-friendly, it is more safe and convenient since customers have the ability to conduct their dealer transactions through a contactless process—at the comfort of their homes.
Nakamura explained: “This is part of Honda’s continuous efforts in providing a better consumer journey to our Filipino customers as we adapt to the new normal.”
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.