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Spanish firm taking over Peugeot PH operations, Hyundai going back to mother company – sources

Spanish firm taking over Peugeot PH operations, Hyundai going back to mother company – sources

Charles Buban

Major management changes in the local industry are expected to be announced soon in a development expected to straighten the paths to recovery of two popular brands that have been struggling recently. 

Reliable sources said that the Columbian Autocar Corp. (CAC) of Palawan Gov. Jose “Pepito” Alvarez has already completed the sale of the Peugeot brand to Bergé Auto of Spain, one of the leading automobile distributors in Europe and Latin America. 

The turnover to be announced on January 17 will leave the once-mighty CAC with just the Mahindra brand after yielding its two crown jewels, BMW to SMC Asia Car Distributors Corp. of Ramon S. Ang and Kia to AC Industrials of the Ayala Corp., the past two years.

The corporate logo of Berge

Peugeot was launched in the Philippines in 2011 but local market reception has been far less impressive than to its sister brands at CAC. Until last year when its transfer to the Bergé was being finalized, there were just five dealers (Pasig, Alabang, Quezon Ave., Iloilo and Pampanga) still in operation, from as many as nine three years ago.

Bergé is setting up BA Motors Philippines, Inc. with a new managing director, Raoul Picello, said to be flying in from Spain to lead the new management team reporting to its Asian headquarters in Hong Kong.

The long-awaited turnover of the Hyundai brand from Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc.  to its Korean distributor is also happening soon, a source also confirmed. 

After achieving a position of as high as third in the combined Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (CAMPI) and Association of Vehicle Importers and Distributors, Inc. (AVID) rankings, Hyundai slid to seventh and eighth for most of last year with no major launches to boot. 

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Text messages and e-mails sent by Inquirer to HARI president Ma. Fe Perez-Agudo, who also heads AVID, regarding the impending turnover were not returned. 

There are currently 41 passenger car and 16 commercial vehicle dealerships of Hyundai in operation but the nationwide network has taken a hit lately with several dealers deciding to close their outlets in the last two years due to the unhealthy business environment. 

HARI actually added the Changan brand to its portfolio in November 2020 but the pandemic has also impeded its efforts to sell the five models it introduced during the brand re-launch.