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Staying true to our core

Staying true to our core


A stalwart of the Philippine automotive industry reminisces on his decades of work in the business

Felix R. Ang is among those who dedicated the best years of their lives to the industry and continue to do so. Ang, president of Auto Nation Group, helped shape the industry into what it is today: progressive, resilient, and growing despite road blocks along the way and lately, disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Here Ang tells it as it was through the years, and provide unusual insight into the history of an industry that is vital to the country’s economic development.

By Felix R. Ang

The CATS Group of Companies is my greatest legacy. But the success of CATS did not happen overnight. It took more than three decades of hard work, dedication and luck. I had to seize every opportunity as it came to be able to build what CATS is today.

When I was 15, I started off as a young trainee in Yale Motor Company helping in the business. It was there I was first drawn to the automotive business. And after a few years, with the blessing of my boss, we opened our first store focused on car accessories. During that time, car owners would often go to car accessories shops to upgrade their cars from mags, air-conditioners to sound systems and everything else in-between. It was a thriving industry. As a first-time entrepreneur, I was lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time. The car accessories business eventually flourished and by then, I was supplying car accessories to everyone.

From our accessories store in Araneta, I found myself opening another one in SM ACA (SM Appliances and Car Accessories) after being invited by Ninong Henry Sy to be a concessionaire. It was a fruitful endeavor but by 1989, I had to relocate because the SM ACA property had to be turned over to Makati Shangri-La. A lot was available along Edsa at the time and seizing the opportunity, I took on the location and started what we all know now as CATS.

CATS stands for Car Accessories, Tires and Service center. It was during this time in our history that CATS’ most vital growth happened. We were appointed as a service workshop for Mercedes-Benz and after a few years, as a dealer as well.

In 2004, another opportunity came my way. CATS was awarded the official distributorship in the Philippines not just for Mercedes-Benz but also for Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram. As the years passed, CATS kept growing and it is humbling to see that we have become the partner of choice for prestigious brands from two wheels with Harley-Davidson, luxury vehicles with Jaguar and Land Rover, and up to 16 wheelers with Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicles. Indeed, what I initially envisioned to be a simple one-stop car accessory shop turned out to be greater than my wildest dreams. The CATS Group of Companies is now a group of more than 500 individuals who share the same passion for cars and customer care as I have from the beginning.

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There is a secret to every success, and I have always been honest that for CATS, it has been our relationship with our customers. Starting three decades ago, the focus has always been the customer and that stands true up until today. Our relationship with our customers helped us sustain our business. The clients we have today are also the same clients who patronized CATS back when it was still an accessories store. From heavily relying on the relationship I had with the clients from selling car accessories back then, we now serve our clients’ sons and daughters. This value will always be the core of the CATS group of companies. It is rather fulfilling to witness how CATS has been recognized as a driving force in the industry by staying true to our core.

Being in the industry for more than 30 years, I am looking forward to witnessing the evolution towards electrification. I am confident that CATS will continue to evolve and grow. And I believe that the automotive industry will continue to be relevant to people’s mobility needs and CATS will always strive to contribute to its growth.

Compiled by Aida Sevilla-Mendoza