At a formal turnover ceremony last Monday, a large replica of a Geely car key was handed over to incoming Sojitz G Auto PH (SGAP) Corporation president/CEO Yugo Kiyofugi by his predecessor, Yosuke Nishi. SGAP is the exclusive distributor of Geely vehicles in the Philippines.

The posh SGAP Presidential Turnover Ceremonies held at the City of Dreams ballroom also served to celebrate the 10,000th accumulated sales milestone of Geely PH in just two years and eight months. This feat lifted the iconic Chinese brand into the Top 10 Sales Performers consolidated list of the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (CAMPI) and the Association of Vehicle Importers and Distributors (AVID.)

Accepting the symbolic key and addressing the dealer principals, partner banks and motoring media present, Kiyofugi said: “I am very grateful for the customers and business partners who accepted and supported the Geely brand up to now that enabled us to become a top 10 automotive brand within a short period of time.

“Our role is to take SGAP to the next level and become one of the top passenger vehicle brands by 2025, strengthening our dealer network as well as exceeding customer expectations. I am very much excited to take on the challenges ahead and committed to leave no stone unturned to achieve our mid-term goal.”

New Sojitz G Auto PH president Yugo Kiyofugi (right) receives the symbolic key from Yosuke Nishi
The top management personalities of Sojitz G Auto PH and House of Investments on stage during the Presidential Turnover Ceremony

Kiyofuji brings to SGAP 20 years of global experience, having worked with other OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) and automotive-related companies in various overseas markets such as the Middle East, Latin America and Australia.

Kiyofuji’s stint in Australia must have sharpened his fluency in the English language, for he responded quickly and articulately to questions from the media during the press conference held in a function room after the turnover ceremony. At times, he even traded jokes with the journalists.     

The midterm goal Kiyofugi aims to achieve by 2025 is obviously the Top 5 Sales Performers honor roll.

“I think there are three driving forces to make our midterm goal happen,” he elaborated at the presscon. “One is to continuously bring the innovative vehicles that the market needs on top of the facelift or the spec changes of the existing models, and number 2 is quantity and quality of the dealer network. As of today, we have 27 dealers and this year, we are trying to increase that up to 40. Above the 40-dealer network, we don’t have any intentions to increase more and more. I think the quantity is okay.”     

“Then from there, I think we have to shift to the quality of the dealer network. And the third driving force is the initiative to improve customer satisfaction. As you know, we have been expanding sales exponentially, so likewise we have to exert most of our efforts on aftersales, to supply the parts, to fix the vehicles right the first time and so forth. Once we continue to exert our efforts on these things — products, dealer network, aftersales, and customer satisfaction — I think our midterm goal is going to be achieved.”

Nishi delivering his farewell speech

Asked what he thinks is Geely’s biggest advantage compared to the other Chinese automotive brands, Kiyofuji replied: “As you know, Geely has bought out Volvo cars and London taxis and has ties with Proton. So potentially, although it’s a Chinese company, it has a good amount of strong bonds with overseas manufacturers in Europe, in Germany, in other Southeast Asian countries. So that makes the situation pretty interesting when it comes to Geely. Actually, we have access to various technologies and have been pretty aggressive in investing in the newest technology as well.”

Meanwhile, outgoing CEO Yosuki Nishi, who has been with SGAP since its inception in September 2019 as its EVP, will be the new president and CEO of Sojitz Fuso PH Corp. During his tenure, SGAP closed 2021 with total sales of 6,104 units, increasing sales by +183 percent versus 2020 with only three models: the Coolray subcompact SUV, the 7-seater Okavango SUV and starting this year, the 2022 Emgrand subcompact sedan.