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How the Covid-19 pandemic has affected auto industry leaders

By Antonio “Toti” Zara, President, AC Motors (KIA, Maxus, Volkswagen)

“1. Digitalization

As what we have witnessed in the past 20 months and counting, the CoViD-19 pandemic has become an unprecedented global crisis. Our business operations, personal transactions, routines, and lifestyles have been disrupted. Though digitalization had already been trending long before the pandemic, there was the surge in the use of digital technologies March 2020 onwards, due to the health and social restrictions resulting from the nationwide lockdowns. Traditional media had been the conventional public interface platform for automotive brands, but by 2021, digital spend had dramatically increased by over 300%. For our AC Motors global mobility brands Kia, Maxus and Volkswagen (distributorship and dealership) and Honda and Isuzu (Ayala-owned dealer network), our digital assets have been upgraded aggressively via our website, social media channels, chatbots and other digital platforms.

2. Customer Experience

The customer remains our focus, regardless of circumstances. The pandemic has overwhelmed lives and livelihoods, yet we continue to put the customer at the center of everything we do. The customer journey, satisfaction metrics, our systems as well as communication platforms have been constantly updated and upgraded across the AC Motors landscape, and have been enhanced further with digitalization. We have created programs that continuously strengthen the knowledge and skills of all our teams. By the time this pandemic is under control and becomes just another part of our collective history, we at AC Motors will continue to provide more memorable customer experiences.

3. Product Offers

The automotive industry has been among the hardest hit during the pandemic, but the heartening signs of recovery now abound: Consumers are now back to buying vehicles, either for personal or commercial use; dealerships are getting busier as our economy has regained a semblance of normalcy. At AC Motors, our goal remains: To become mobility partners with the Filipinos by providing them quality and reliable transportation solutions. We are also ready and eager to take our mobility partners to the next level by being a committed player in global transport electrification, by offering a series of electric vehicle models in the next few years, in parallel with the development of the local EV infrastructure.

4. Dealer Upgrades and Expansion

AC Motors is committed to provide our customers the best of both the digital and physical worlds. As much as we consider digital accessibility as key, our goal also remains to continuously upgrade our brick-and-mortar dealer facilities, and expand to areas where our footprints are needed. As AC Motors brands become even more accessible via a few taps on your screens, so should we be face-to-face, on a nationwide scale.

5. Business Resilience and Adaptability

The pandemic has also greatly impacted automotive supply chains, forcing business operations to drastically adapt to changes, and constantly adjust to business viability assessments and reviews. As a business dealing in supply and demand, we have been regularly modifying our approach in order to not just react to volatile business developments, but to anticipate and be one step ahead of the foreseeable challenge. We cannot achieve this level or resilience and adaptability without our hardworking and devoted employees. Thus, our people, and our customers, are our utmost priority. They are our bookends propping our business upright. When we finally ascertain that our society is in the “new normal,” they will remain our priority.”

Compiled by Tessa Salazar

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